Archaeologists discover two cities untouched by humans for 600 years
Hardcore travellers are perpetually in search of destinations that remain untouched by the covetous paws of the tourist industry, a trophy increasingly difficult to find in a world ruled by middle-aged self-indulgent millionaires engaged in elaborate games of one-upmanship and Google Streetview.
Which is why it's even more amazing that archaeologists have just discovered two lost cities deep in the jungle of Honduras. A team of specialists escorted by Honduran special forces found the ruins in the remote La Mosquitia valley, which show evidence of a pyramid, plazas, and artifacts that appear to depict a half-human, half-jaguar spirit.
Chris Fisher, the lead US archaeologist on the team, told The Guardian that this place appeared to not have been touched by humans for at least 600 years.
"Even the animals acted as if they’ve never seen people," Fisher said. "Spider monkeys are all over place, and they’d follow us around and throw food at us and hoot and holler and do their thing. To be treated not as a predator but as another primate in their space was for me the most amazing thing about this whole trip."
The area was first scoped out using infrared beams powerful enough to break through the forest canopy. These revealed a human-created landscape, according to Fisher, that showed a pair of cities with houses, plazas, and roads and paths. The area dates to between 1000AD and 1400AD.
The site shares similarities with Mayan culture, though apparently shows distinct differences. Little is known about the region's ancient societies.
This team did not have permission to excavate the site, which means they have left it almost exactly as they found it until they can gain the necessary permits to do so. So, for now at least, it remains one of the few places left on Earth untouched (almost) by people.
There'll probably be a Starbucks there within the year.