In the last few days there has been talk about the discovery of a new Mayan city by a schoolboy from Canada. William Gadoury has been interested in all things Maya for most of his young life. He has taken his interest seriously and used his curiosity and creativity to look for more understanding of the culture that stirs his imagination.
It has long been pondered about how the Maya chose the sites for some of their greatest cities. They are not near water sources. They are not along coasts. They are not along trade routes. They are not on grid patterns. They are not in open plains. They are not strategically impressive. Thus a question has plagued scholars for years; Why build cities in the middle of the jungle away from natural resources, especially water, and seeming to ignore all other logical rationale for human settlement? In most cases Mayan cities remained hidden and undisturbed of hundreds of years, due in part to the jungle having so completely reclaimed them. This adds another factor to the seeming illogical, irrational methods employed by a very intellectual culture in this area.
If we allow that the Mayans created their own calendar system, then they were incredibly intelligent and logical and rational, based on the mathematical skill required to create a calendar system that rivals our computer aided time-keeping in its accuracy. If we also allow that they and they alone built their cities, they were also incredibly skilled engineers and masons and artisans. Yet, between all these intelligent and skilled individuals their city locations seem beneath them based on logic and reason. It seems highly improbable that they did not see the need to have natural resources available for the masses, nor that they missed the need for defenses from regional enemies. Thus, it seems that one needs to look for some other more important reason for why their cities are placed in such unusual places.
Enter our young schoolboy from Canada. Mr. Gadoury studied the Madrid Codex and located 23 constellations that held enough importance to the Maya to be recorded. His theory was that the stars had great importance for the Maya, maybe even extreme importance. What William Gadoury decided to try was logically creative. He took the constellation maps and laid them over the area of Central America that was the Land of the Mayans and he found that the stars and cities matched.
While, this in and of itself is significant in understanding the values and mental state of the Mayan elite, the best part was found in the 23rd constellation, which has 3 bright stars in its make up. When matching this constellation with known sites only 2 of the 3 stars has known complimentary sites. So Gadoury then used Google Earth to look at the area that matched the 3rd star without a matching known site. WOW! He found an area of the jungle canopy that was more uniform in shape than one would expect, unless it was covering something man-made.
As of yet, the site has not publicly been the object of a LiDAR search. So, while, Armand LaRocque, an honorary research associate at the University of New Brunswick, and the Canada Space Agency have supported and assisted Gadoury in his research and even claimed that in addition to the pyramid an additional 30 buildings have been located, it will not be accepted until a physical on-site discovery is documented.
However, considering the stance of several ‘experts’ in the various connected fields that 1) use of maps is a modern Western invention and thus cannot be used to locate ancient sites (I do not understand this conclusion on any level) and 2) that the Maya did not use stars to place cities (yet, I have heard of no sound and logical explanation of their unique site placement), it seems highly unlikely that even if a significant site is discovered in the proposed location due credit or even serious consideration will be given to the theory presented by Mr. William Gadoury.