FAQs

1. Is this an unknown civilization?

No. Archaeologists have worked in the area for 100 years, and we have produced articles, books, documentary films, newspaper articles, and given dozens of presentations about the area. A website dedicated to the archaeology of the Mosquitia has been online continuously since 1999. Plus, residents of the area, including the descendants of the folks who built the archaeological sites, have long known about many of the archaeological sites in the area. In fact, in my experience, the Pech, Tawahka, Miskitu, and other nearby people know nearly every sizeable site.

2. Why doesn’t this culture have a name?

I have always called the people who built the archaeological sites ‘the prehistoric populations of the Mosquitia’ – I never needed a different term. Once, in response to this question, I did come up with a name for this archaeological culture – it was a term in Pech that means ‘people of the green river,’ referring to the great quantity of soft greenstone in some of the rivers in eastern Honduras. After thinking about it, however, I thought, who am I to name this group? It seemed like something that should come from local folks, especially those who are the descendants of the archaeological cultures. So, they remain unnamed, which is fine with me.

3. Why did they disappear?

They didn’t. The indigenous folks living in the area are almost certainly descendants of the ancient group.

4. Is it hard to work in the impenetrable jungle?

That term always amuses me – the rain forest is not really hard to navigate. The hardest part is the mud and the hills. The vegetation is not really any more difficult than many other places. I think this whole notion dates back to the adventurers of 100 years ago or more, who wanted to portray the environment as something they overcame and conquered. I teach wilderness survival courses, and I can assure you that I would much rather be lost in the jungle that anywhere else – there is plenty of food, lots of materials to make nearly anything (shelter, rope, raft, stone tools) and you won’t freeze to death!

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