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Scientists discover the ‘lost city’ Ciudad Blanca in Honduras

Posted by on May. 16, 2013 at 2:14 PM
  • 5 Replies

Cool!

Scientists discover the ‘lost city’ Ciudad Blanca in Honduras

Have scientists discovered a lost city?

Scientists discover the ‘lost city’ Ciudad Blanca in Honduras
Photo credit: Flickr

Science Recorder | Drew Adams | Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Researchers believe they may have located the rumored-yet-unconfirmed city of la Ciudad Blanca, the “White City” thought to have been described by Hernan Cortez to King Charles V in 1526. Cortez and others thought the fabled city to be a huge metropolis filled with riches but it was never found—until now, or so speculation goes.

Archeologists and documentary filmmakers Steven Elkins and Bill Benenson began the search last year. They were encouraged to act after recent studies promoted the idea that complex cities once existed in the rain forests of Central and South America during a time when the forests were likely better maintained by locals. The decision paid off; lidar readings covering 60 square miles of the Mosquitia region in Honduras revealed potential ruins that include canals, roads, and building foundations.

The data was sent to engineer Bill Carter at the University of Houston for analysis. He was able to pinpoint artificial structures in what he had been sent fairly quickly, spending the next few months mapping several more ruins in the target area. Elkins presented findings on the image data Wednesday at the American Geophysical Union meeting in Cancun, Mexico.

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So how were the ruins discovered? Elkins and Benenson used a method of mapping known as lidar, which translates to light detection and ranging. Low flying airplanes are equipped with the tool and bounce laser light off the surface below. The data gathered can then be interpreted by computers to produce a 3D map that has an elevation resolution of less than four inches.

Created not long after the laser in the early 1960s, lidar is useful when conducting land surveys at a faster rate than on foot (and especially in terrain such as that of rain forests). Experts were able to remove vegetation overlay from the 3D model of Ciudad Blanca, revealing the ruins beneath.

“We use lidar to pinpoint where human structures are by looking for linear shapes and rectangles. Nature doesn’t work in straight lines,” said Stephen Leisz in a statement from the American Geophysical Union. Leisz is a part of UTL (Under the Lidar) Scientific’s archaeological group.

For now, it is unclear whether or not the ruins found in Honduras are Ciudad Blanca or simply part of a previously unknown ancient civilization housed in the region. Evidence of civilization had been found around Mosquitia throughout the 1900s, but never of the magnitude as this new discovery.

According to Elkins, a UTL team plans to study the ruins from the ground later this year. As for Elkins himself, he and Benenson are working to produce a documentary on the Ciudad Blanca experience.


Read more: http://www.sciencerecorder.com/news/scientists-discover-the-lost-city-ciudad-blanca-in-honduras/#ixzz2TTrl3qOy


by on May. 16, 2013 at 2:14 PM
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Replies (1-5):
Euphoric
by Bazinga! on May. 16, 2013 at 10:05 PM

 Awesome!

Talee
by Gold Member on May. 16, 2013 at 10:06 PM

Cool!

meriana
by Platinum Member on May. 16, 2013 at 11:23 PM

Neat. There was a documentary on T.V. awhile ago about ruins found in, I think it was Georgia or a state in that area anyway, that they think may have been Mayan. They used this technology there also. It's really cool.

AlekD
by Gold Member on May. 16, 2013 at 11:43 PM
Good to see technology going towards something other than warfare! Very cool.
AdrianneHill
by Platinum Member on May. 17, 2013 at 4:13 AM
I get irritated when I read of the endemic forest burning because the soil is so poor. The ancients used river mud as a base soil that yielded tremendous harvests. We have the mechanical know how to dredge parts of the vast river systems of the amazon and engineer it all to sustain the growth and health of the population and the forests.
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