The criticism of Douglas Preston’s National Geographic article and the documentary are starting to come in – taking them to task for retaining the colonialist discourse and seemingly inflating/exaggerating claims to make it all fit the ‘lost city’ narrative.
“La Ciudad Blanca” (“the White City”) is a legendary “lost” city, deep in the rain forests of the Mosquitia region of eastern Honduras. Charles Lindbergh reportedly spotted it from the air in one of his excursions and explorer Theodore Morde supposedly found the “City of the Monkey God,” which some have speculated to be Ciudad Blanca, in the same approximate region in 1939. However, Morde died without passing on the location of his supposed find, so his story was not verified. Nevertheless, interest in the legend of Ciudad Blanca has remained high among the public and the popular media. Numerous subsequent expeditions have gone in search of this lost city, all to no avail.
But according to Douglas Preston (yes, THAT Douglas Preston) in an article for National Geographic published in March, the legend of Ciudad Blanca has been vindicated and the “lost city” is lost no more.
Here are a number of images of the impressive stone sculpture found all throughout eastern Honduras. Sites in more remote locations, where they have not been picked over as much by nearby residents, often have dozens or hundreds of small metates, or grinding stones. The region is famous for the large grinding stones, which are very elaborate and possibly served as seats of power or thrones. We don’t know the dates for all of these types of stone artifacts, but the larger metates most often occur with Period V pottery (Late Classic, probably 800 to 1000 AD).