Truly An Ancient ‘Lost City’ Or Sensational Reporting? Scholars Claim Honduran Discovery Was Overhyped

lost city

A so-called “lost city” said to be home to a long-vanished civilization was reportedly found by a team of explorers in the rainforest of La Mosquitia, Honduras, during a recent expedition. The finding, which was first reported in National Geographic and picked up by other media outlets including The Huffington Post, has since generated a lot of buzz — and criticism.

Earlier this month, more than two dozen archaeologists and anthropologists published an open letter, condemning the explorers, who were accompanied by a film crew, for making “exaggerated claims of ‘discovery.’” Experts have also criticized National Geographic for sensationalizing the finding and employing a “colonialist discourse” in their report.

The National Geographic article, published March 2, began with these words:

An expedition to Honduras has emerged from the jungle with dramatic news of the discovery of a mysterious culture’s lost city, never before explored. The team was led to the remote, uninhabited region by long-standing rumors that it was the site of a storied “White City,” also referred to in legend as the “City of the Monkey God.”

This report was problematic on several fronts, the scholars contend in their letter. For instance, the report is said to have ignored earlier research conducted in the region, which experts claim is not quite as untouched as the article seems to suggest, as well as indigenous knowledge of the area.

“Any words like ‘lost’ or ‘civilization’ should set off alarm bells,” Rosemary Joyce, a signatory and a professor of anthropology at the University of California at Berkeley, told The Guardian.

Such terms revert to a “colonialist discourse” that is disrespectful and offensive, another signatory and University of Kansas professor John Hoopes told the news outlet.

Aerial view of a pocket of jungle in the Mosquitia, where —> Read More