Experts Doubt Teen's Discovery of a Lost Mayan City

Experts Doubt Teen's Discovery of a Lost Mayan City

William Gadoury, a 15-year-old Canadian with a fascination in archaeology, was credited for discovering a lost Mayan city.

After matching 117 Mayan Cities to 22 different constellations, he found at 23rd one with one star that didn’t match up. He then used satellite imagery and matched that last star to “lost city” in the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico.

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But now, experts say that there’s not enough evidence to support his hypothesis. Anthropologist David Stuart was one of the first experts to call Gadoury's discovery out on his Facebook.

“The whole thing is a mess—a terrible example of junk science hitting the internet in free-fall," wrote Stuart. "The ancient Maya didn’t plot their ancient cities, according to constellations. Seeing such patterns is a rorschach process, since sites are everywhere, and so are stars. The square feature that was found on Google Earth is indeed man-made, but it’s an old fallow cornfield or milpa.”

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Hugo García Capistrán, a Mexican anthropologist also backed up Stuart’s doubts. He said that while there are many Mayan cities left undiscovered, Gadoury's theory doesn't add up.

“The biggest problem with these kinds of articles is that hypotheses that haven’t been discussed in trusted academic circles are presented as fact,” Capistrán told Remezcla. “It’s not valid to say that they spoke to ‘two Mexican archaeologists’ and not mention their names, and it’s also not valid to talk about the supposed maps used by him and not show them. As of right now, we don’t have evidence that indicates that the Mayas used a star map to pick the locations of their cities.”

Must be such a bummer for Gadoury!