Explorers cannot always be trusted in their descriptions of their discoveries. Tempted by fame and fortune, many have been lost searching for unknown and fantastic treasures, but many more have returned claiming to have found the weird and the wonderful.
And, of course, there were and are discoveries to be made, but exploration comes with its fair share of fakery. However, some things are both apparently real and apparently impossible, and so it is with the Lost Monkey City or Lost City of the Monkey God in Honduras. The story sounds like it comes straight out of an Indiana Jones movie.
Evidence had emerged of a lost city in the pristine rainforest of Honduras, the story of the Lost City or the White City, also referred to as Ciudad Blanca, with artifacts such as figurines said to come from the ruins and local rumors that it was out there, hidden in the vegetation.
Does it wait to be found?
Where is the Lost Monkey City?
The Lost City in Honduras is located in the northeastern part of the country, or the Honduran Mosquitia. Interestingly, the Honduran Mosquitia is one of the biggest undeveloped areas in the country, which has never witnessed any human exploration activities.
Spread over 865,000 acres (350,000 hectares), the Honduran Mosquitia remains one of the most pristine and least explored areas with lowland rainforests in Central America. It is as good a candidate location for a hidden city as anywhere in Central America.
The first instance of discovery of the ruins of Lost City Honduras in the unexplored deep rainforest was registered in 2012. Most recently, another nearby site has grabbed the attention of investigators.
The site of ruins discovered in the Lost Monkey City has been referred to as the Ciudad Del Jaguar or the City of the Jaguar. The name suits the site perfectly due to the discovery of a figurine with a half-man and half-jaguar creature, probably indicating a shaman engaged in occult practices causing him to shapeshift.
The ancient lore among the indigenous tribes residing near the Honduran Mosquitia suggests that the Lost City was a dedicated worshipping site. During the first exploration activity in the Honduran Mosquitia in May 2012 through an aerial survey, explorers stumbled upon what appeared to be evidence of the Lost City.
It is also important to remember that the vast expanse of mountains, swamps, and rivers had never been explored before. In addition, the remains of the city show that it had never experienced an invasion. Indigenous stories suggest that the Lost Monkey City may have been the cradle of a pre-Columbian civilization.
The possibilities of human inhabitants in Lost City Honduras became clearly evident following discoveries in the 2012 exploration project. Explorers used Lidar technology for aerial surveys of the region. The capabilities of Lidar technology helped in mapping the ground through dense canopy of the jungle.
At the same time, Lidar also helped in mapping the ground for better identification of archaeological features in the region. The images from the survey revealed interesting findings about the inhabitants of the Lost Monkey City. The valley had unnatural features stretching for over a mile, and an in-depth analysis of the images showed that the terrain near the river had been reconstructed through human intervention.
Old Rumors and New Evidence
The 2012 survey was not the first time the Lost City has been searched for, or possibly found. The first major expedition for finding the White City or the Lost City of the Monkey God was initiated in 1940.
The leader of the expedition, Theodore Morde, was an eccentric explorer, and he had the support of the Museum of the American Indian. During his expedition, Morde discovered multiple artifacts, which he brought back with him. He also claimed that he had entered the buried city of the Monkey God.
According to the accounts of Morde, the local inhabitants believed that the site contained a massive statue of a Monkey God buried under the ground. The findings from the 2012 aerial survey exploration revealed proof of public and ceremonial architecture. In addition, the Lost City Honduras also had remains of giant earthworks, irrigation canals and reservoirs, as well as house mounds.
Verification of all the features noticed in images on the ground helped in ensuring that there was an ancient city in this region. In fact, subsequent discoveries have pointed out that the Honduran Mosquitia might have housed more than one lost city.
- Farini’s Great Discovery: Is there a Lost City of the Kalahari?
- Herodotus and the Lost Labyrinth of Egypt: Found at Last?
In recent years many archaeologists have developed the impression that the dense rainforest housed many similar lost cities. Topographical research has also revealed that the place could have harbored over 60,000 homes, palaces and roads, all of which are buried beneath the forest land.
Finding this rumored underground monolithic monkey is therefore proving difficult. It would seem that there are multiple candidate sites spread across the vastness of the Honduran rainforest.
Prior to the exploratory research activities in Lost City Honduras, most of the accounts of the city’s appearance were based on accounts by other explorers. Some of the indigenous stories also suggest that the city earned the name Ciudad Blanca or White City for a massive central structure or “white house” also referred to as Casa Blanca.
The stories indicate that the White House was a place of refuge for native tribes to escape Spanish conquistadors in the region. According to indigenous lore, the White House in the Lost City was a mystical location similar to paradise, and people never returned after going in.
Why Was it Lost?
The assessment of the site by experts at the Honduran Institute of Anthropology and History has revealed that the artifacts discovered in the Lost City of Honduras date back to almost 1000 to 1400 AD. However, the real puzzle is how the civilization of the Lost City of Monkey God collapsed.
Researchers have tentatively linked the collapse of the city to a cache of sculptures discovered at the foot of a pyramid. The cache included 52 carved stone sculptures, which were never disturbed from their locations. Subsequent excavation revealed more than 500 sculptures and fragments which had been left there at the time of abandoning the city.
The broken sculptures also suggested a ritual for releasing the spirits of the dead before burying them. However, the massive cache of sculptures points out that it might have been a ritual indicating the burial of the city.
According to theories by archaeologists, the city might have experienced a catastrophic event, and all the inhabitants gathered their belongings as offerings to the gods. Other possible causes of downfall of the Lost Monkey City point to drought, social inequality, elite mismanagement or diseases.
Top Image: Evidence of the lost city may have been found, but where is the giant underground monkey god? Source: Cary Peterson / Adobe Stock.
By Bipin Dimri