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24 June 2012
Lost ruins revealed in Honduras

Field teams have surveyed a remote region of Honduras, indicating the locations of several new archaeological sites.
  The results mark the successful completion of the first light detection and ranging (LiDAR) study of part of that country's Mosquitia region, one of the world's least-explored virgin rainforests.
  Project leader Steve Elkins has been fascinated with the Mosquitia rainforest since his first visit there nearly 20 years ago, but he has been frustrated by the inability of satellite imagery to see under the extremely thick canopy. To overcome this obstacle, Elkins contacted researchers at the University of Houston (USA), the National Science Foundation's National Center for Airborne Laser Mapping, and Geosensing Systems Engineering Graduate Research Program.
  An initial analysis of the survey has identified several ruins, providing archaeologists with the precise locations of features for further study on the ground.
  Recent media reports have speculated that one of these sites could be the legendary 'Ciudad Blanca' that was allegedly first referred to under the name Xucutaco by the Spanish conquistador Hernan Cortes in 1526, reported to be located in the rainforest of the Mosquito Coast but never found by the Spanish.
  Previously in 2009, the Houston researchers and a field team composed of Michael Sartori, Juan Fernandez Diaz and Abhinav Singhania successfully mapped the Caracol archaeological site in Belize using airborne LiDAR, locating building ruins and agricultural terraces not discovered by archaeologists working on the ground for more than 25 years.

Edited from Past Horizons (14 June 2012)

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