One of the most enigmatic and mysterious civilizations to ever grace Earth, the Mayan empire disappeared in a puzzling puff of smoke sometime around the year 900 BCE, since then archaeologists have been scrambling to recover the many secrets hidden in its "Tomb Raider"-style ruins. After years of research and a huge amount of speculation, scientists have now been upstaged by 15-year-old Canadian schoolboy William Gadoury, whose startling realization about ancient Mayan wisdom has enabled him to discover the location of a lost city deep in the jungles of southern Mexico.
Though the Mayans are known to have been expert builders and astronomers, until now no one had thought to search for a connection between the two. However, after studying diagrams of 22 Mayan constellations, Gadoury noticed that the positions of the stars were perfectly aligned with the locations of 117 Mayan cities.
Speaking to the Journal de Montréal (in French), the aspiring scientist said he “did not understand why the Maya built their cities away from rivers, on marginal lands and in the mountains,” yet was convinced that “they had to have another reason, and as they worshiped the stars, the idea came to me to verify my hypothesis. I was really surprised and excited when I realised that the most brilliant stars of the constellations matched the largest Maya cities.”
After his amazing eureka moment, Gadoury then turned his attention to yet another constellation, consisting of just three stars. Since two of these lined up perfectly with two known Mayan ruins, he began to speculate that the third must also reveal the location of an as yet unknown ancient settlement.
Using satellite imagery from the Canadian Space Agency and mapping this onto Google Earth, he was able to spot what appears to be a large pyramid – similar to those found at most other Mayan cities – surrounded by a series of other structures.
Unfortunately, the location of this apparent lost city is extremely remote and inaccessible, which means that reaching it on the ground and carrying out an archaeological study on the site will require a great deal of effort and funding. However, researchers from New Brunswick University are currently considering making this a reality, and have promised to take Gadoury along should they eventually make the trip.
The teenager says that exploring the ruins in the flesh “would be the culmination of my three years of work and the dream of my life.” For now, he has been given the honor of naming the city, which he has chosen to call K’àak’ Chi’, meaning Fire Mouth.
Update: Some outlets are now reporting that the square in the images may simply be an abandoned field or a small dry lake, and not a “lost city”.