Last updated: 11:00 AM ET, Mon March 09 2015

Scientists Discover Ancient Lost City in Honduran Rain Forest

Destination & Tourism | Donald Wood | March 09, 2015

Scientists Discover Ancient Lost City in Honduran Rain Forest

A team of archaeologists, scientists and explorers have reportedly discovered an ancient lost city in the rain forests of Honduras, possibly the rumored “City of the Monkey God.”

Also referred to as the “White City”, explorers have been searching since the 1920s for the lost civilization, but have never been able to secure physical proof of its existence until the recent expedition made some incredible discoveries.

According to Douglas Preston of National Geographic, the culture that inhabited the city is also a mystery, but scientists have unearthed many earmarks of a lost society, including an earthen pyramid, entire plazas and stone sculptures.

One of the most predominant discoveries during the trip into the jungle was the unearthing of a stone sculpture of what looks to be a half-human, half-animal head with a helmet. Scientists are unsure what the purposes of the discovered items were, but speculate that they could have been offered as part of a ritualistic sacrificial ceremony.

Believed to have lived a thousand years ago in the area, the local inhabitants vanished along with their city, and it has sat relatively undisturbed for hundreds of years. When asked about the survival of the ancient landmark and the support the government needs to protect the lost city, director of the Honduran Institute of Anthropology and History, Virgilio Paredes Trapero, told Preston:

“If we don’t do something right away, most of this forest and valley will be gone in eight years. The Honduran government is committed to protecting this area, but doesn’t have the money. We urgently need international support.”

The real breakthrough in the discovery of the ancient city was the commitment from documentary filmmakers Steve Elkins and Bill Benenson, according to Preston. The two men mapped the La Mosquitia area of the Honduras rain forest and picked up strange anomalies on their lidar sweeps of the area.

Lidar stands for “Light Detection and Ranging” and allows the users to see what is on the ground of the rain forest through the thick foliage that has enveloped the area. After seeing unusual man-made patterns on the equipment in 2012, the expedition to the area was organized with the proper clearances, government authorities and scientists.

The lost civilization is so rare that scientist do not even have a name for the original inhabitants. However, full-scale excavation has not yet begun and scientists will not reveal the location of the forgotten city due to fears of looting.

The rise of technology has helped connect people in every corner of the earth, but the fact that there are still undiscovered cultures lost in the jungles of Honduras has the archeological world excited about what other artifacts will be found next.

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