Teen Makes Stellar Discovery of Previously Unknown Maya City
William Gadoury, a 15 year-old Canadian from Quebec, has revolutionized the academic world by using ingenious reasoning to discover a previously unknown Maya city. Based on his own theory - that the Maya chose the location of their cities following constellations, he realized that there must be another undiscovered city in the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. Satellite images of the area have confirmed his hypothesis.
As reported in the Spanish newspaper ABC, William Gadoury has become a little star in the eyes of the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), NASA, and the Japanese space agency (JAXA) with this finding, which will be released shortly in the most prestigious scientific journals.
William Gadoury explains his theory of the existence of a Maya city still unknown in Mexico before scientists at the Canadian Space Agency. (CSA)
William, reportedly a passionate student of the Maya world, found 22 Maya constellations in the Madrid Codex, and superimposed them onto a Google Earth map of the Yucatan Peninsula. Then he realized that the stars corresponded to the location of the 117 Maya cities, and also the brightest stars coincided with the most important cities.
Until now, no scientist had noticed the correlation between the stars and the location of the different Maya populations. However, William noted that one of the constellations - specifically number 23, formed by three stars- does not coincide exactly with the map of known Maya cities, since it only two cities appear.
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William Gadoury and his research. He’s a teenager who followed his own stellar hypothesis and discovered the existence of a new Maya city. (Le Journal de Montréal, Martin Chevalier)
He followed his theory there had to be another Maya city, the 118th, in a remote and inaccessible part of the Yucatan Peninsula ... and it seems he’s right: analysis and studies of the area using satellite images by the various international space agencies have confirmed the existence of a pyramid and at least thirty buildings in the place indicated by William.
"Geometric shapes, squares or rectangles, appear in these images, shapes that can hardly be attributed to natural phenomena," says a specialist in remote sensing at the University of New Brunswick, Armand LaRocque, who has had access to the images of different structures that could well belong to an ancient city. [Via Le Journal de Montréal]
Facsimile of the Madrid Codex, Museum of the Americas, Madrid, Spain. (Outisnn/CC BY-SA 3.0)
Not only has the high school student discovered the strong possibility of a new Maya city, but it also may be one of the largest sites to be found so far. William has decided to call the site K’àak’ Chi’ which means “the fire mouth”. As he confessed to Le Journal de Montréal:
"I did not understand why the Mayas had built their cities far from rivers, on unfertile land and in the mountains. There had to be another reason, and, as they worshiped the stars, it occurred to me to verify my hypothesis. I was surprised and excited when I realized that the brightest stars of the constellations corresponded to the largest Maya cities. When Dr. LaRocque told me in January that they distinguished a pyramid and thirty structures, it was something extraordinary.”
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Location of the proposed city, K’àak’ Chi’ (La Bouche de feu). (Le Journal de Montréal)
William has presented his research to two Mexican archaeologists. They have promised that he will accompany them in their next expedition to the newly discovered Maya city, which nobody has seen in person yet. "It would be the culmination of three years of work and my life’s dream," William said.
His discovery has also led him to be selected as a participant in the International Expo of the International Movement for Leisure Activities in Science and Technology (MILSET) which will be held in Brazil in August 2017.
Ruins of the Maya city of Mayapan, located in the north of the Yucatan Peninsula. (Joeldesalvatierra/CC BY-SA 3.0)
Featured Image: Photograph of Zaculeu, the capital of the Mam kingdom, a pre-Columbian site of the Maya civilization in the highlands of Guatemala. (HJPD/Public Domain)
By Mariló T. A.