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Ancient ‘White City of the Monkey God’ Discovered in the Jungles of Honduras

21st Century Wire says…

Previously, 21WIRE reported how drones have been used to discover lost civilizations in remote corners of the Sahara and the Amazon. This week, we learn about something even more spectacular.

The archeological team in charge of this project believe that this virgin rainforest region known as La Mosquitia contains many such cities.

“This is clearly the most undisturbed rain forest in Central America,” said the expedition’s ethnobotanist, Mark Plotkin.

Archaeologists have already begun to survey and map public plazas, burial mounds and an earth-works pyramid. The statues found are in near mint condition, and were documented – but left unexcavated for now. Officially, this archaeological discovery will not be confirmed until it has been “ground-truthed” or fully documented by a team of scientists, engineers and documentary filmmakers.

Lost City of the Monkey God.png
Lost City of the Monkey God” by Virgil Finlay – The American Weekly. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

It is also believed that Theodore Morde, a 20th century American adventurer and explorer, may have found this same site during a 1940 expedition, but sadly had died before he was able to reveal its location. Morde described a mysterious city where local tribes worshiped a giant “Monkey God” figure, and spoke of ancient tales depicting myths of part-human, part-simian children.

 We’re told that in order to protect the site from looters, its exact location has not being revealed to the public yet...

Former British Special Air Service (SAS) soldiers prepare a helicopter pilot for liftoff from a landing zone cleared for a team of scientists surveying a secret location in the Mosquitia jungle. The helicopter ferried people and supplies from its base. (Photograph by Dave Yoder, National Geographic)


Douglas Preston
National Geographic

An expedition to Honduras has emerged from the jungle with dramatic news of the discovery of a mysterious culture’s lost city, never before explored. The team was led to the remote, uninhabited region by long-standing rumors that it was the site of a storied “White City,” also referred to in legend as the “City of the Monkey God.”  

Archaeologists surveyed and mapped extensive plazas, earthworks, mounds, and an earthen pyramid belonging to a culture that thrived a thousand years ago, and then vanished. The team, which returned from the site last Wednesday, also discovered a remarkable cache of stone sculptures that had lain untouched since the city was abandoned.

In contrast to the nearby Maya, this vanished culture has been scarcely studied and it remains virtually unknown. Archaeologists don’t even have a name for it.

Christopher Fisher, a Mesoamerican archaeologist on the team from Colorado State University, said the pristine, unlooted condition of the site was “incredibly rare.” He speculated that the cache, found at the base of the pyramid, may have been an offering.

“The undisturbed context is unique,” Fisher said. “This is a powerful ritual display, to take wealth objects like this out of circulation.”

The tops of 52 artifacts were peeking from the earth. Many more evidently lie below ground, with possible burials. They include stone ceremonial seats (called metates) and finely carved vessels decorated with snakes, zoomorphic figures, and vultures.

The most striking object emerging from the ground is the head of what Fisher speculated might be “a were-jaguar,” possibly depicting a shaman in a transformed, spirit state. Alternatively, the artifact might be related to ritualized ball games that were a feature of pre-Columbian life in Mesoamerica.

“The figure seems to be wearing a helmet,” said Fisher. Team member Oscar Neil Cruz, head archaeologist at the Honduran Institute of Anthropology and History (IHAH), believes the artifacts date to A.D. 1000 to 1400.

The objects were documented but left unexcavated. To protect the site from looters, its location is not being revealed.

Stories of “Casa Blanca” and a Monkey God

The ruins were first identified in May 2012, during an aerial survey of a remote valley in La Mosquitia, a vast region of swamps, rivers, and mountains containing some of the last scientifically unexplored places on earth.

For a hundred years, explorers and prospectors told tales of the white ramparts of a lost city glimpsed above the jungle foliage. Indigenous stories speak of a “white house” or a “place of cacao” where Indians took refuge from Spanish conquistadores—a mystical, Eden-like paradise from which no one ever returned.

Since the 1920s, several expeditions had searched for the White City, or Ciudad Blanca. The eccentric explorer Theodore Morde mounted the most famous of these in 1940, under the aegis of the Museum of the American Indian (now part of the Smithsonian Institution).

Morde returned from Mosquitia with thousands of artifacts, claiming to have entered the City. According to Morde, the indigenous people there said it contained a giant, buried statue of a monkey god. He refused to divulge the location out of fear, he said, that the site would be looted. He later committed suicide and his site—if it existed at all—was never identified…

Continue this story at National Geographic

READ MORE ANCIENT HISTORY NEWS AT: 21st Century Wire Ancient History Files

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