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William Gadoury, High School Student, Discovers Forgotten Mayan City

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A Quebec teen’s interest in ancient Mayans has led to an incredible discovery.

William Gadoury, 15, is credited with finding an ancient lost city in the Yucatan jungle in Mexico. He’s decided to name it K’aak Chi, which means Mouth of Fire, according to the Journal de Montreal.

william gadouryWilliam Gadoury visited the Canadian Space Agency in 2014. (Photo: Canadian Space Agency/Facebook)

It began with his fascinatation with how the civilization that lived in Central America worshipped the stars. He was pleased to discover that the brightest stars in the constellations matched the biggest Mayan cities on the map.

“I didn’t understand why the Maya built their cities far away from rivers, in remote areas, or in the mountains,” Gadoury told the newspaper in French.

Using satellite images and maps of the night sky, Gadoury discovered that if he projected the constellations onto a map, the stars perfectly lined up with 117 Mayan cities.

He noticed that a constellation made up of three stars only had two corresponding cities, reported The Independent, leading him to believe that there could be one that was hidden.

With the help of the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), the 15-year-old was able to uncover an ancient, unknown city. The agency provided Gadoury with satellite images of the area where he believed the forgotten city was located.

lost city william gadouryImages of possible structures in forgotten city. (Photo: Canadian Space Agency)

“By providing William some of these images, we were able to see some structures, and try to see that there’s an elevation here – maybe this could be a pyramid,” the CSA’s Daniel De Lisle explained in an interview on CBC Radio.

“There are some structures that really are man-made, and really look linear, that should not have been there. But maybe because they’re there, there’s an unknown city underneath.”

Gadoury said it would be the "dream of a lifetime" to visit the ruins that he discovered.

Gadoury told Radio-Canada that one day he would like to be an archaeologist, astronomer or engineer.

william gadouryWilliam Gadoury speaks about his discovery at the Canadian Space Agency in 2014. (Photo: Canadian Space Agency/Facebook)

UPDATE - May 11, 2016: Some experts are now voicing skepticism about the lost city.

David Stuart, an archaeologist and director of the Mesoamerica Center at the University of Texas at Austin, wrote on his Facebook page that the man-made shape on the satellite image is most likely a cornfield.

“The ancient Maya didn’t plot their ancient cities according to constellations. Seeing such patterns is a Rorschach process, since sites are everywhere, and so are stars,” he wrote.

Anthropologist and satellite imaging expert Thomas Garrison told Gizmodo he believes the cornfield has likely been fallow for 10 to 15 years.

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