Doubts have emerged over teenager William Gadoury claim’s that he has discovered a long-lost ancient Mayan city deep within a dense Central American forest using a combination of old-world astronomy and ultra-modern technology.
The inquisitive Quebec youngster claimed he had analysed 22 Mayan constellations and realised that the Mayans aligned their 117 cities with the positions of the stars.
It was the first time a researcher had made a direct correlation between the stars and the locations of the Mayan cities, the Journal de Montreal reported. William said he had realised that there was one star in another constellation that didn’t appear to have a corresponding city.
However, some sceptics are casting doubt on his story, including David Stuart, an anthropologist from The Mesoamerica Center-University of Texas at Austin.
Mr Stuart also achieved fame for his Mayan discoveries as a teenager.
He posted on his Facebook page: “This current news story of an ancient Maya city being discovered is false. I was trying to ignore it (and the media inquiries I’ve been getting) but now … I feel I ought to say something.
“The whole thing is a mess – a terrible example of junk science hitting the internet in free-fall.
“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.”
Boy, 15, discovers long-lost ancient Mayan city using constellations and Google Earth
“The square feature that was found on Google Earth is indeed man-made, but it’s an old fallow cornfield, or milpa.”
William Gadoury of the Académie Antoine-Manseau in Joliette in Quebec. Photo / Supplied
If William’s theory and calculations are correct, that would place the missing city in a remote coastal location on the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico.
Using satellite images from the Canadian Space Agency and Google Earth maps, William zeroed in on the precise location – and a pyramid and about thirty ancient buildings were spotted, partially hidden, in the dense forest.
“There are linear features that would suggest there is something underneath that big canopy,”
Canadian Space Agency liaison officer Daniel de Lisle told The Independent.
“There are enough items to suggest it could be a man-made structure.”
William has named the lost city K’aak Chi, or Mouth of Fire. It is believed to be one of the five largest Mayan cities on record.
The discovery won William praise from space agencies in Canada and Japan as well as NASA. He’s also become a local hero in Quebec.
“What makes William’s project fascinating is the depth of his research,” Mr de Lisle said.
“Linking the positions of stars to the location of a lost city along with the use of satellite images on a tiny territory to identify the remains buried under dense vegetation is quite exceptional.”
The young scientist – whose passion for the ancient civilisation was sparked by reading Mayan doomsday prophesies in 2012 – was thrilled with his remarkable breakthrough.
“I did not understand why the Maya built their cities away from rivers, on marginal lands and in the mountains,” he told the Journal de Montreal.
“They had to have another reason, and as they worshipped 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.”
The jungle that houses the newly discovered city has not been explored, but William said he couldn’t wait to see it for himself.
“It would be the culmination of my three years of work and the dream of my life,” he said.