One of the refrains we hear repeatedly from fringe writers is the claim that archaeologists are unwilling to take folklore, myths, and legends seriously and reject efforts to seek out the truth behind stories of lost cities and vanished civilizations. Well, apparently events are transpiring in Honduras to give the lie to the idea that archaeologists don’t care about such things. At the America Geophysical Union meeting in Cancun yesterday, archaeologists presented the findings of exciting new technology that let them penetrate the Honduran jungle in search of the legendary Ciudad Blanca (White City), also known as Xucutaco.
This mysterious city of great wealth first appears in the fifth letter of Hernando Cortes to the Habsburg emperor Charles V. Cortes wrote:
…I hear of large and rich provinces and great lords who live in them in much state and magnificence; especially of one, called Hueitapalan, and, in another dialect, Xucutaco, of which I have heard for six years past, and during the whole of my journey have made inquiries about it and ascertained that it lies some eight or ten days’ march from Trujillo, which would be between fifty and sixty leagues. There are such wonderful reports about it that they excite my admiration, for, even if two-thirds of them should be untrue, it would nevertheless exceed Mexico in wealth and equal it in the grandeur of its towns, the multitude of its population, and its political organisation. (trans. F. A. MacNutt)
Cortes tried to find the city, but he failed to do so.
Many expeditions have tried to find the city, which some believe to be a myth. Now, a new technique called airborne light detection and ranging (LiDAR) has located what appear to be the ruins of pyramids, plazas, and roads—evidence of an ancient city beneath the jungle canopy. The findings are suggestive but tentative for the time being until a ground survey can be conducted. Of course it is impossible to know whether the abandoned city—if it is in fact a city—was the White City of legend, but it’s in the right area and matches the stories told of lost cities in the area reasonably well.
Did archaeologists duck their heads and scream that such a find overturns conventional wisdom and must therefore be shunned? Did they launch a conspiracy to hide the truth? No, the Honduran government and an interdisciplinary team are readying themselves to go out to the site to confirm that the technology has it right.
Also of interest: The ancient astronaut theorists’ world energy grid, which supposedly aligns to the locations of major ancient sites, failed to predict the existence of this city. No node appears in this Honduran location on any of the published grid maps. Similarly, the channeled spirit beings from Atlantis who supposedly detailed the pre-history of the Americas failed to describe the city. Just once I’d like to see ancient astronaut or Atlantis speculation actually predict the location of a lost civilization and then have one actually show up there.
Click here to read my follow-up on the Ciudad Blanca myth.
5/16/2013 09:00:22 am
A really interesting and exciting story.
5/16/2013 10:52:38 am
Ironically, they used Lidar to look for mayan ruins in Georgia on the first episode of AU. But, anyways, this is very interesting. I can't wait to see how the actual exploration pans out.
5/16/2013 02:17:19 pm
Except, not so much. Ciudad Blanca, is something of a western-style concept, the lost city, forced onto memories of an indigenous past and experience with ruins throughout the Moskitia.
5/18/2013 02:17:53 am
Sometimes it can simply be an ancient city that inspires a myth/legend without being word for word identical. Like the stories of Heracles, King Arthur, Robin Hood Thera/Atlantis.
5/16/2013 02:22:25 pm
Also, in addition to the notations made at those links regarding the Cortes quote, you have to understand that many (and Cortes definitely did this) reports from the New World were wildly optimistic during the earliest years of the Spanish Conquest (Bernal Diaz del Castillo is one of the only original conquistadors that comes off as particularly honest, and he was writing decades after the conquest to set the record straight, and not for immediate political purposes). Basically, most conquistadors would be more than happy to call a region conquered, when all they had done was shown up, and to go on about vast wealth based on rumors or nothing at all. This was in part because these expeditions were organized as Crown-approved private ventures, and the charter could be revoked if an expedition did not seem impressive. Matthew Restall addresses this in his beginner's guide to Spanish colonialism _Seven Myths of the Spanish Conquest_ which I would recommend.
5/16/2013 03:27:03 pm
Little known fact: Xucutaco is Mayan for Sinclair.
5/17/2013 04:21:18 am
I actually guffawed and disturbed an otherwise quiet room. Shame on you.
5/17/2013 04:24:36 am
... and 'White City' refers the the inhabitants.
5/17/2013 04:26:02 am
5/18/2013 05:11:33 pm
Taco Bell owns the trademark "Xucutaco" and their attorney will be issuing a cease and desist order next week.
5/16/2013 07:41:18 pm
Amazing news, so excited to hear that! This technology could help us find more lost cities around the world.
5/17/2013 05:16:29 am
I like that. Just wait for another 2-3 years, and the new town will be part of all grid maps, channelled - of course - by an Atlantean spirit.
5/17/2013 07:55:23 am
The ancient technology is not a new concept. I have already heard about Egyptian disk being an ancient technology. It was a very colorful story told by an occultist who recovered her past memory of being in ancient Egypt. Her partner talked with Sol and saw thousands of spaceships ready to attack earth.LOL! They both were in late 50’s…….not children with fantasy. There is another old chap who wrote a few books about recovering his past memories as being Ramses. To make his story more colorful, he claimed that he was abducted by ET’s, of course. If my memory is correct, he also talked about ancient technology. We are living in strange times indeed.
5/21/2013 03:55:54 am
There's a decent amount of $$$ to be made from pseudoarchaeology. Books, TV shows, public lectures - you name it, someone will buy it.
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