locate ancient ruins in the depths of the Honduras jungle. The site, which falls inside the fabled Mosquito Coast, could be the lost city of Ciudad Blanca (The White City) which inspired treasure hunters, archaeologists and historians for centuries.
The research team from the University of Houston used a survey plane equipped with a laser-based light detection and ranging (LIDAR) system to discover the site. These lasers are able to penetrate the thick canopy of the jungle and map the surface below it at an incredibly accurate level. The system has been used in recent years to get a clear picture of the Honduras' countryside but it has also helped to reveal these kinds of surprises too. The lasers have been accurate enough to map the newly discovered site, which includes a large central plaza with two pyramids at either end, one large one small. There are numerous other structures of various sizes near by as well.
The legend of Ciudad Blanca has been around since at least the 1500's when Spanish explorer Hernando Cortes went in search of the city. Cortes believed that it was a site with great wealth, including vast hoards of gold. He never found his treasure but that hasn't stopped other expeditions from continuing the search. Over the centuries some have claimed to have discovered it, but there has been no concrete evidence to support those claims and most archaeologists today regard the city as just a myth.
Whether or not this site is indeed Ciudad Blanca remains to be seen, as aside from the fact that researches now know it exists, little else is known about the ruins. A major archaeological expedition will need to be mounted to go in search of the place and excavation will likely not proceed for years. Such an expedition will be a challenging undertaking as the dense jungles of the Mosquito Coast will not be easy to penetrate, but those who do make the journey will be witnessing a lost history that man has not seen for a very long time.
If that expedition is in need of a blogger to join them on that journey and chronicle their findings, I'd be willing to come along!