A team of explorers on an expedition to the jungles of Honduras have stumbled across what they believe may be evidence of a legendary lost Mayan city thought to be thousands of years old and which was once called the White City of the Monkey God.
As a name for an urban hub, the White City of the Monkey God doesn’t quite roll off the tongue in the same way that Boston or New York does, but it is certainly a very intriguing name and has a certain je ne sais quoi about it.
The Daily Mail reports that the White City of the Monkey God was considered by certain adventurers to have gotten its name because an ancient civilisation dwelt there and worshipped an all-powerful and fierce simian deity. It is thought they even erected a statue in honour of this powerful primate.
Famed explorer Theodore Morde once recalled, in the American Weekly, tales of local tribes he had met who believed without question in the monkey worshipping civilisation which once plagued the jungles of Honduras. These tribespeople even revealed to Morde that “monkey gods” who ruled the city with a hairy hand once kidnapped local women and took them back to the White City of the Monkey God where they would impregnate them with half-human, half-chimp children. Morde wrote compellingly about such tales and described them thus.
“One day three of the hairy men who looked like great apes walked into an Indian village and carried off three of its most beautiful and pleasing maidens. They took the girls back into the caves high in the mountains to live with them and bear their children. From this union came, however, not human nor partly human children but the small Urus or monkeys.”
The tribespeople then said their ancestors hunted down the offspring of such an unholy union and butchered them in revenge killings, an act which inspired the Dance Of The Dead Monkeys. In that tribal tradition, monkeys are caught and roasted over a fire for stealing the tribespeople’s virgins. Alas! Such was life in ancient civilisations.
Morde later claimed that, on his 1939-40 expedition, he had found evidence in the jungles of Honduras of a huge monkey temple, thought to be inhabited by a civilisation called the Chorotegas. Writing in the Milwaukee Sentinel, Morde revealed that the lost White City of the Monkey God was “shrouded by towering mountains,” and a “rushing cataract, beautiful as a robe of shimmering jewels, cascaded into the green valley of the ruins.”
“More definite location than this I cannot give, because, as I have written, many are they who have sought for the Monkey God’s City, attracted by tales of treasure, and we want to find it unmolested on our return journey in January.”
Morde never did reveal the exact location and took the secret to the grave with him when he killed himself in 1954.
The fabled lost treasures of the White City have intrigued characters throughout history such as conquistador Hernando Cortes and King Charles V of Spain. Cortes once wrote that the White City of the Monkey God would “exceed Mexico in riches.”
Put it this way. If Indiana Jones had a bucket list, then the lost White City of the Monkey God would be in numero uno when it comes to must-do adventures.
However, explorers and archeologists had almost given up on what some have referred to as the White City of Gold – until now!
The National Geographic reports that one of their teams who recently travelled into uncharted territory long rumoured to host the ancient site of the White City of the Monkey God have unearthed mounds of white rubble that are thousands of years old and resemble the skulls of monkeys.
Theodore Morde once wrote that upon walking the pathway to the city’s central temple, which resembled the shape of the monkey God, travellers would be struck by the stone effigies of monkeys which lined their approach.
Mesoamerican archaeologist Christopher Fisher said that the pristine and unloosed condition of the site was ‘incredibly rare’ and there were 52 ‘monkey heads’ peeking from the earth.
“The tops of 52 artifacts were peeking from the earth. Many more evidently lie below ground, with possible burials. They include stone ceremonial seats (called metates) and finely carved vessels decorated with snakes, zoomorphic figures, and vultures.”
To protect the site from looters, its location is not being revealed, something with which the expedition’s ethnobotanist Mark Plotkin concurs.
“This is clearly the most undisturbed rain forest in Central America. The importance of this place can’t be overestimated.”
The civilisation who once dwelt in leafy abandon of the lost White City of the Monkey God, are said to have vanished without a trace. What secrets they left to posterity, only time will tell.
[Lead Image By Mario Tama/Getty Images]