Experts have debunked a Canadian teen's discovery of an ancient Mayan city using star maps.
To each his own, or so the famous saying goes. While teens are expected to enjoy life, party away, and be active outdoors, some opt to embark upon scientific projects that appear to be suited way beyond their age.
Such is the case of William Gadoury, 15, from Quebec. Through his great interest in ancient Mayan history, conventional technique, and modern technology, he was able to discover a forgotten Mayan city.
Many were pleased and amazed by this school boy's feat, but experts cannot come to fully believe and support the claim.
The Truth Behind The Teen's Discovery According To Experts
A few years back, Gadoury won a contest and was able to present his theory that Mayan cities were correlated with constellations. Scientists from the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) noticed him and helped the teen explore more.
The agency opened its RADARSAT-2, a satellite that monitors sea ice and shipping in the country. The satellite was turned to Mexico, the location where Gadoury predicted the presence of an ancient Mayan civilization. True enough, manmade structures were detected on that spot.
Satellite imagery not only tremendously helps experts study ancient civilizations but also tames down hindrances for more scientific discoveries. One proof of its wonder is the teenager's feat. However, the images shown as per analysis were not exactly what the boy thought they were.
Experts think that the square in the images is most probably a forgotten location, and another area may be a small dry lake or remnant of what used to be a jungle.
Mayans Did Not Build Cities As Per Constellations
Experts are also not convinced that the Mayans built their settlements and cities based on constellations. Although they did have constellations, there is no full list of all of them, making the theory difficult to test.
Arcaeoastronomist Anthony Aveni says the Mayan constellations, except Scorpio, have nothing to do with the modern star maps. He adds that the bizarre features of different locations may be attributed to different parameters such as swamp mud, among others.
Regardless of the star map used, there are good chances to find a settlement in a given area. Because Maya was densely occupied during the Classic times, the place was stripped of trees, and towns were relatively close to one another.
"So at any given point you would be likely to find an archaeological site," says Susan Milbrath from the Florida Museum of Natural History.
For archaeologist Richard Hansen, the location looks very proximal to the ancient city of Uxul, but it is not really "long-lost."
More Work, Brighter Future
The outlines cannot deny that there is really something in the location. However, ground missions are necessary to validate or refute the presence of the structures in the dense area.
CSA's Daniel Delisle says the images give an array of information, but experts need to go underneath the forest canopy location to discover if there is anything in it. Nonetheless, the initial images suggest linear features that signify the presence of infrastructures underneath the vegetation.
Whatever the truth is, one thing is for sure. Gadoury has become known to the world and his work has opened up a bright future for him. In fact, the school boy has been invited to write in a scientific journal and attend national science fairs and international conferences.