The pervasive legend of the Ciudad Blanca or White City has captured the public's imagination in Honduras and around the world.
Nearly twenty years later, in the
year 1544, Bishop Cristobol de Pedraza, the Bishop of Honduras, wrote a letter to the King of Spain describing an arduous
trip to the edge of the
Since then, the legend has continued
to grow. The
Professional archaeologists in
the area remain skeptical of these claims for a number of reasons; nevertheless, since the 1940s, announcements of expeditions
to find the lost city have peppered Honduran and
Local Indian groups have different versions of the lost city legend. Most of these prohibit entry into the lost city, and some focus on the alienation of indigenous gods who have sought refuge in the sacred city, which is not so much lost as hidden.
relatively large-scale archaeological projects have been undertaken in the region for the first time. The discovery of some
large, impressive archaeological sites in the jungles
Dr. Begley recently published a paper on the White City legend, presented on the legend at the Society for American Archaeology meetings in 2012, and will appear in an upcoming book about the legend by writer Christopher S. Stewart, tentatively titled Jungleland, which should be published in early 2013.
Dr. Begley suggests the following questions be asked of anybody who claims to have found the lost city. First, which version of the legend are you using as a guide? The indigenous legends are very different from the popular versions you hear today. Second, what features of your discovery make you think it is THE lost city? None of the legends have any characteristics, traits, or identifying attributes of the Ciudad Blanca. How, then, can you claim to have found it? Just because it is a large site? Third, are you sure your 'discovery' is not already well known to locals, and possibly even archaeologists? Do you have access to a list of all documented archaeological sites in the region and are sure this is not one of those?
The realities of the archaeology of the Mosquito Coast are important and interesting without the Lost City hype that ultimately, in every case yet, ends up being just that - hype.