The Lost City of the Monkey God in Honduras is said to have dozens of pyramids, similar those built by the Mayans. (
The Lost City of the Monkey God in Honduras is said to have dozens of pyramids, similar to those built by the Mayans. (

Archaeologists have discovered a lost civilisation deep in the jungles of Central America.

The lost world resembles a "vast tended garden" and lies inland from the Mosquito Coast, an area known for swamps, poisonous plants and vipers that leap at their prey.

The area was last explored over 70 years ago by Theodore Morde. The American adventurer and spy emerged from the jungle in 1940, claiming to have found a "lost city of the monkey god" with giant primate sculptures.

Morde also offered wild theories that sacrifices were made by local Indians to a gigantic idol of an ape. However, he was killed in a car crash in London before he could reveal the location of the lost kingdom.

Charles Lindburgh, the first pilot to fly the Atlantic solo, had suggested that Morde explore the area, saying he had seen ruins of "an amazing ancient metropolis" when flying across Central America.

This week, at the annual meeting of the American Geo-physical Union in Cancun, Mexico, scientists will describe how they found a number of towns and dozens of 60ft-high pyramids. The site could date back to AD500.

According to Christopher Fisher, an archaeologist at Colorado State University, the palaces may have been built by a civilisation other than the Mayans and Aztecs, who were known for their human sacrifices.

Fisher and his colleagues are analysing aerial 3D images taken by using a surveying camera that bombarded the canopy with 100,000 laser pulses a second, according to the Sunday Times.

The equipment used is called "the LiDAR machine which basically can pierce through the jungle's foliage and map whatsoever on the ground underneath," Douglas Peston, a writer for National Geographic told the New Yorker.

The expedition was organised by Steve Elkins, a Los Angeles filmmaker, who is hoping to make a documentary about the ruins.

Elkins is keen to keep expectations in check, saying: There may be many statues of monkeys, and half-human monkey gods, but if I see one the size of King Kong I shall be, well, very surprised."

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