Thursday, May 16, 2013

How Lasers May Have Revealed a Legendary Lost City of Gold


One year ago, a team of researchers traveled deep into the Honduran rainforest in search of Ciudad Blanca, the legendary lost city of treasures. Yesterday, they revealed images—uncovered by lasers—of structures that they believe to be the White City itself.

The legend of the White City has captured explorers' imaginations for centuries; Hernán Cortés detailed his interest in the purportedly gold-laden metropolis as far back as 1526. But the Mosquitia region where it was rumored to exist is densely packed with rainforest, and the conquistadors never penetrated deep enough to claim their prize.

Modern archaeologists have been just as stymied. Mosquitia has been the focus of a half dozen intensive explorations in the last century alone, some of which have yielded signs of some ruins and mounds. No one, though, despite their best efforts, had found anything close to a full city structure. 

The team of researchers from the University of Houston, though, had something none of those expeditions did. They had lasers.

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