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33 MIN READ TIME

Did a Teenager Discover an Ancient Maya City on Google Earth?

BY DAVID S. ANDERSON

ON JUNE 2, 2016, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE PUBLISHED an interview with a Canadian teenager named William Gadoury, who claimed that he discovered a lost Maya city on Google Earth. In the interview Gadoury suggested that archaeologists who were naturally skeptical of his findings were simply jealous.

A map of the Yucatan Peninsula area. The black triangles indicate Maya archaeological sites. Adapted from www.mayamap.org/.

By way of background, on a particularly hot July day in the forests of Yucatan, Mexico, my colleague and I were looking for a Classic Period (ca. 200CE to 900CE) Maya archaeological site. We had a stack of documents telling us where the site was, my trusty machete, and even a GPS. We were close but could not find it. I turned around and walked back the way I had just come, but saw no sign of structures. Frustrated, I turned around again and started walking back, ready to throw in the towel. And then I spotted it, 15 feet to my right was a limestone block, then another, and another. Another 15 feet away from me there stood a pyramid that was more than 100 feet tall—I almost didn’t see it.

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“LIFE WAS GOOD FOR OUR PALEOLITHIC GRANDparents,” recounts a 2001
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The Neurophysiology of Anomalous Psychological Experiences
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Review of The Invention of Science: A New History of the Scientific Revolution, by David Wootton
A Review of The Age of Genius: The Seventeenth Century and the Birth of the Modern Mind by A.C.Grayling
Review of The Myth of an Afterlife: The Case against Life after Death edited by M. Martin and K. Augustine
Review of The Witch of Lime Street: Séance, Seduction, and Houdini in the Spirit World by David Jaher
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