History

15-Year-Old Boy Claims To Find Mayan City

A Canadian teenager believes he has discovered the ruins of a lost Mayan city with the assistance of Google Maps and a star chart.

A Canadian teenager believes he has discovered the ruins of a lost Mayan city in Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula - with the assistance of Google Maps and a star chart.

William Gadoury, of Saint-Jean-de-Matha, Quebec, has had a longstanding interest in Mayan civilization, particularly where they chose to build their towns and cities.

"The Mayans were extremely good builders, but they often built in places that made little practical sense - far from rivers, far from fertile areas. It seemed strange for a civilization that was so intelligent," Gadoury told CBC News. "I knew they were good at astronomy, so I tried to make the link."

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Gadoury studied 22 Mayan constellations and found the stars matched the locations of 117 known ancient cities when overlaid on a map. He then realized that one star in a 23rd constellation didn't have a corresponding Mayan city.

That's when the teen got the Canadian Space Agency involved. After meeting CSA project officer Daniel De Lisle at a school science fair and presenting his theory, Gadoury was given access to high-definition satellite images which he cross-referenced against Google Earth.

Underneath the Yucatan's dense vegetation, Gadoury located possible man-made structures where the astronomical data suggested the missing city would be. He believes the objects to be the remains of pyramids. The CSA's De Lisle is cautiously optimistic.

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"There are linear features that would suggest there is something underneath that big canopy," De Lisle told The Independent. "There are enough items to suggest it could be a man-made structure."

Gadoury has tentatively dubbed the ancient city K'aak Chi, or Mouth of Fire. His findings will be published in a scientific journal and he has been invited to present them at a conference in Brazil next year.

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Archaeologists have discovered two ancient Maya cities in the tropical forest of central Yucatan. The team unearthed stone monuments, inscriptions, temple pyramids and the remains of massive structures.

Photos: Mayan City Remains Found in Forest

One of the cities featured an extraordinary facade with an entrance representing the open jaws of an earth monster. "It represents a Maya earth deity related with fertility. These doorways symbolize the entrance to a cave and, in general, to the watery underworld, place of mythological origin of maize and abode of ancestors," expedition leader Ivan Sprajc, of the Research Center of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts (ZRC SAZU), told Discovery News.

Sprajc and his team also found the remains of a temple pyramid almost 65 feet high, a ball court and several massive palace-like buildings arranged around four major plazas.

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The archaeologists also found 10 stelae (tall sculpted stone shafts) and three altars (low circular stones) which featured well-preserved reliefs and hieroglyphic inscriptions.

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An inscription on one of these stelae reveals the stone was engraved on Nov. 29, 711 A.D. by a "lord of 4 k'atuns (20-year periods)." Unfortunately, the remaining text, which included the name of the ruler and possibly of his wife, is heavily eroded.

Similarly imposing was the other city unearthed by Sprajc. The previously unknown city was named Tamchen, which means "deep well" in Yucatec Maya.

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More than 30 chultuns were found at the site. These are bottle-shaped underground chambers, largely intended for collecting rainwater. "Several chultuns were unusually deep, going down as far as 13 meters (43 feet)," Sprajc said.

Like in Laguinita, plazas were surrounded by large buildings. These include the remains of an acropolis supporting a courtyard with three temples on its sides, and a pyramid temple with a well preserved sanctuary on top and a stela (pictured above). An altar at its base was also unearthed.

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