Follow Slashdot stories on Twitter

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Earth Google Space News Science Technology

15-Year-Old Boy Discovers Long-Lost Ancient Mayan City Using Constellations And Google (nzherald.co.nz) 98

Master Moose quotes a report from NZ Herald: Deep within a dense Central American forest sit the ruins of an ancient city the world forgot. And it has just been discovered by a precocious 15-year-old boy. Quebec teenager William Gadoury claims he has discovered a long-lost ancient Mayan city using a clever combination of old-world astronomy and ultra-modern technology. [The inquisitive youngster, who has a deep fascination with ancient Maya, analyzed 22 Mayan constellations and realized that the Mayans aligned their 117 cities with the positions of the stars. 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.] UPDATE: As the story continues to spread, so does the skepticism. David Stuart, anthropologist from The Mesoamerica Center-University of Texas at Austin, said via his Facebook page: "This current news story of an ancient Maya city being discovered is false..." Thomas Garrison, an anthropologist at USC Dornsife, told Gizmodo that the objects are relic corn fields.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

15-Year-Old Boy Discovers Long-Lost Ancient Mayan City Using Constellations And Google

Comments Filter:
  • theory vs real (Score:3, Insightful)

    by alexandreracine ( 859693 ) <alexandreracine@gmail.com> on Tuesday May 10, 2016 @05:58PM (#52087259) Homepage Journal
    Well, it is a theory, so now he his looking to go there in person.
    • by msauve ( 701917 )
      "Well, it is a theory, so now he his looking to go there in person."

      Life can be wonderful, in Theory. The problem is no one knows where Theory is.
      • "Well, it is a theory, so now he his looking to go there in person."
        Life can be wonderful, in Theory. The problem is no one knows where Theory is.

        It's over the hill, just behind Half-Assed...
        Which used to be called "Wild-Assed", but it just couldn't live up to the hype.

  • Reality Check (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    The news I heard was that he came up with a hypothesis, did a bit of work on his own and then asked for help to see if there were indications of a city at certain locations. There are some indications but they need to be researched further. He can't go exploring until summer break since he is 15 and has high school exams. With what is all too typical news reporting hyperbole, it is being blown way out of proportion. I don't even know if he can afford to go on that type of trip.

    • With what is all too typical news reporting hyperbole...

      No surprise the story is published in the NZ Herald, sourced from news.com.au, two of the least trustworthy "news" organisations on the planet.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      The problem is that it took you 3 long sentences to write all that. Try to fit it in a 6-7 word half-sentence that's gonna make me want to press the "read more" button for the full story and a lot of ads!

  • This story set off my bullshit detector within about 2 sentences.
    • Re: (Score:2, Redundant)

      by Rei ( 128717 )

      Indeed. It's clearly not a Mayan city. It's a giant carving of the full text of the Wikipedia article on Pareidolia.

  • by Atmchicago ( 555403 ) on Tuesday May 10, 2016 @06:20PM (#52087373)
    You wouldn't believe how a teenager discovered a Mayan city using this one weird trick! Archaeologists hate him!
  • https://www.amazon.com/Long-Jo... [amazon.com] I read his book by accident. Amazing book and a scientific theory that he worked years on
  • Has anyone checked to see if it's just some radio guts in a box or something?
  • I feel live I've seen this somewhere [mst3kinfo.com] before...
  • by sittingnut ( 88521 ) <sittingnut&gmail,com> on Tuesday May 10, 2016 @07:04PM (#52087643) Homepage

    in this case test is actually checking the site. and that evident fails to confirm the theory. there is no city, just a fallow cornfield abandoned 10-15 years ago.

    nor is there any other correlation between other mayan cities and visible stars, then or now, that is just modern pseudo science mystic nonsense.
    a modern high resolution image of sky with lots of stars may fit a map of known mayan cities (or any random map of cities or parking lots/malls/anything) with stars but since there are lots of stars that is to be expected, and most stars in that image wont have corresponding cities and never will.

    this is what so called modern "science' has become to sell tv shows and books.

    and mass society at large takes it for real science and are ever ready to believe stories that fit fairy story patterns( this story fits right in; young boy, ancient legends and mysteries, confounded authority etc etc).

    media is happy to oblige . (how many media outlets that ran this story today, will run a story that pointed out that "city" was a cornfield tomorrow? very few. and fewer people will choose to read it if it ran).

    "science" now has become a popular mass belief with believers thinking it is the undeniable unchallengeable TRUTH (a concept that is alien to philosophy of science), with computer models and artists images taken for real instead of experiments and real world data, and consensus and voting has become proof of theories while scientific method is ignored

    • Yes, what the hell does 'correlated with constellations' mean? Just another example of taking random data sets and finding some sort of 'correlation' and then assuming causation.

      Further, the constellations [wikipedia.org] that we westerners talk about were developed by Greek / Roman / Arabic folk lore. The Chinese had their own set.

      I rather doubt the Mayans studied classical Greek civilization.

      Poor kid, he looks totally dorked in a suit.

      • You're right, they probably used the Chinese set... Whether or not the kid's theory holds, it's disgusting to see how people are most interested not in cultivating, fueling and encouraging this kid's passion, but rather in eviscerating him and his best efforts. Your toddler draws a picture of which she's very proud. It represents her best efforts and she's looking to you for praise and encouragement. Instead, you tell her it's rubbish, lecture her on her terrible technique, her poor choice of color pall

        • Uh, the kid is hoaxing you. Are you dense? He didn't make an honest mistake, it is a hoax.
        • You're right, they probably used the Chinese set... Whether or not the kid's theory holds, it's disgusting to see how people are most interested not in cultivating, fueling and encouraging this kid's passion, but rather in eviscerating him and his best efforts. Your toddler draws a picture of which she's very proud. It represents her best efforts and she's looking to you for praise and encouragement. Instead, you tell her it's rubbish, lecture her on her terrible technique, her poor choice of color pallet, etc..

          That's not the correct analogy or the right response. This kid has (bravely) taken his ideas out into the real adult world to have them scrutinised. He's not playing and he's not a toddler. If his ideas are found wanting, the correct thing is not to pretend they are right but to explain why they are wrong. He'll learn.

        • It's disgusting to see how people are most interested in awarding the Gold Medal of Participation to everyone who fucks up.

          • You misunderstand me. I'm not talking about awarding the precious snowflake an "A" for effort even though his peers run circles around them. I'm talking about sh*tting on an aspiring novice for trying to grasp beyond their station rather than guiding/mentoring/encouraging them. What kid his age do you know spends more than a few weeks on an academic endeavor--especially one not assigned to them--let alone a few years? His peers are kids his age, not a highly credentialed archaeologists. He didn't go tr

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Yes, what the hell does 'correlated with constellations' mean? Just another example of taking random data sets and finding some sort of 'correlation' and then assuming causation.

        Further, the constellations [wikipedia.org] that we westerners talk about were developed by Greek / Roman / Arabic folk lore. The Chinese had their own set.

        I rather doubt the Mayans studied classical Greek civilization.

        Poor kid, he looks totally dorked in a suit.

        Thank you for your insights into Mayan civilization, especially with regards to constellations. The Mayans would obviously not have developed their own system of grouping stars into constellations nor would they have left any records documenting that. The Madrid Codex, which this poor misguided youth used as the basis of his research, is obviously a hoax from the preconquest period. The book he is holding in his hands while he is "dorked in a suit", "Les Troix Codex Mayas" Eric Taladoire, ISBN-13: 978-23

    • And the locations of Woolworths stores [theguardian.com] were decided with the help of aliens...
    • evident fails to confirm the theory. there is no city, just a fallow cornfield abandoned 10-15 years ago.

      The "evident" is some professor who THINKS that is a fallow cornfield. Just as the kid THINKS there is a city there.

      The only satellite image for counter proof (see end of article) looks nothing like the satellite image of the area the kid found.

      If you look at the image of the area in question why does the vegetation look exactly the same age as the surrounding vegetation, simply sunken? Vegetation from

      • by Anonymous Coward

        You seem to think "science" has money to verify every single formation found from Google. You also seem to THINK the boy has found enough reasons justify such verification. But what if the boy is not alone? What if there is other unfinished (more important) research not done because not enough resources (money)? What makes you to THINK we have to investigate this boy's THINKING next?

      • The "evident" is some professor who THINKS that is a fallow cornfield. Just as the kid THINKS there is a city there.

        The person who thinks it is a cornfield is someone who actually has experience working in the Mayan lowlands, who has seen fields like that in both satellite pictures and on the ground. The person who thinks it is a city is a kid in Canada.

        Yes, someone needs to visit the area to confirm anything. But I'm not going to be paying those expedition costs. If the kid wants to foot the bill himself, fine, after all if he's claiming there's a city there then the burden of proof is on him.

        There's probably a farme

    • by Zeio ( 325157 )

      Check for yourself - the coordinates for this Cornfield:

      Kâ(TM)aak Chi (Fire Mouth) William Gadoury "Lost City" / Cornfield 17Â56'41.36"N 90Â10'1.25"W (17.944822,-90.167014)

      Not likely a lost city per David Stuart

      - Director at The Mesoamerica Center-University of Texas at Austin
      - Professor at University of Texas at Austin Department of Art and Art History
      - Director at Casa Herrera

      https://www.facebook.com/david... [facebook.com]

  • And the coordinates to this "city" are?

  • As evidence, he produced a calendar signed with a Mayan private key.

  • This is cool, but could we wait for something verified like:

    1. An expert actually visiting the rumored site?
    2. Higher resolution pictures of the site from the ground or an airplane? Preferably in a wavelength that screens out the foliage?
    2. A published (or even submitted) paper to a peer-reviewed journal?

    I applaud the kid for his efforts, but you have to close the loop scientifically before declaring victory... even if you are 15.

    Also, right now, there is nothing stopping some asshole with more resources f

  • Cities grow based on trade routes, natural resources, areas of strategic importance, defensible land, population growth and so on. While there might be the odd city arbitrarily placed for an administrative or religious purpose, most aren't.
    • by Rei ( 128717 )

      I can just imagine the Mayan authorities talking with a group of peasants:

      Authorities: Hey! You! Why are have you been building this town here?
      Peasants: Our population grew, we needed to. Many people were working too far away from the old town.
      Authorities: No no no, this is all wrong. There's no major stars in our constellation at this location.
      Peasants: But our fields are here. It's good soil, there's water...
      Authorities: Look, there's a bright star that maps to a position eight kilometers to the east

      • Peasants: You mean, on that barren lava plane on a 45 degree slope?
        Authorities: Yes, that's the place!
        Peasants: ... why exactly are we doing this, again?

        Religious Authorities: Because we'll cut your hearts out and burn them if you don't.
        Peasants: Oh.

    • by hey! ( 33014 )

      Well, sure. But you can't blame him for trying.

      There's nothing wrong with wild-ass flights of speculation as long as you don't insist the facts fit. And while everyone should learn the time-tested, scholarly consensus, the fun in science comes in where things everyone has good reason to believe don't quite fit the facts. DNA is used to assemble RNA, which in turn is used to generate proteins; it's so simple and compelling, it's been called the "fundamental dogma of molecular biology"; but once you have t

      • by DrXym ( 126579 )
        Announcing to the world you've found a city when you haven't certainly qualifies as "insisting the facts fit".

        What did the stars look like during Mayan times? What evidence do we have that they worshiped, venerated or otherwise cared about a certain constellation? How do known cities even align onto this constellation - accurately, or with wild ass fudging? How many cities did they have before they started on this plan or were they living in small settlements? Do the existing cities become the anchor poin

  • How did this get into slashdot? This National Enquirer level crap "science".
    • How did this get into slashdot? This National Enquirer level crap "science".

      Apparently from gizmodo. Again. Hey Slashdot: we *still* need "clickbait" and "troll" labels for proposed stories.

  • Today, many real scientists are saying that's not a lost city, it's a milapa, i.e. an abandoned corn field from 10-15 years ago. Of course, we can't know for sure until somebody actually goes there and investigates on the ground. I admire this kid, but his conjecture is probably incorrect.

There are three kinds of people: men, women, and unix.

Working...