Deep in the rainforest of Honduras, a team of archaeologists and documentary filmmakers have made a startling discovery - The "White City", or "City of the Monkey God" according to some legends, has been unearthed in the remote valley of Mosquita. A team that consisted of Honduran soldiers, former British SAS bushmaster survivalists, National Geographic journalists and filmmakers have brought news of a wealth of ancient artifacts from a pre-Colombian civilization that so little is known about that is has no name.
According to local legend, a tribe existed in the area that prayed to a monkey or monkey-like deities and there have even been some reports of the existence of half-children half-simian beings. The lore dates back to as early as the 16th century when Spanish Conquistadors first began exploring the region. To date, no actual proof of the city has existed. In 1940, American adventurer Theodore Morde may have discovered the site on an expedition, but died before he could reveal the location. The Milwaukee Journal published a drawing of his interpretation of the site that same year (pictured here).
In 2012, an aerial survey of the region revealed that something might actually be there and that prompted American film-makers Steven Elkins and Bill Benenson to fund a new expedition. They worked with the Honduran government and a team of archaeologists that were lead by two former British SAS soldiers who are masters at survival in this type of terrain. The group set up a base camp and underwent methodic expeditions into the areas they believed the city might be found. Finally, the team came across roughly 52 artifacts that were jutting up from the ground. The most intriguing was a sculpture of what appears to be a "were Jaguar", or half human half Jaguar type of creature. Archaeologists believe that these finds may be just the tip of the iceberg and more treasures may exist below ground, including a possible ancient burial site.
For now, the location is undisclosed to prevent any type of looting. Explorers have been trying to discover this city for centuries and more recently since the 1920's, but none have found success. This is a truly incredible find that shows there's still much to explored in our own world. To close, I would like to note that the biggest threat to the ancient site is not looters, but deforestation. Ranchers are clearing the rain forest as close as 12 miles away and this could have devastating effects on the ancient site.
For more information, please visit National Geographic.
*All photos by Steve Yoder for National Geographic.