Deep within a Central American forest sits the ruins of an ancient city the world forgot -- and it has just been discovered by a Quebec teenager.
15 year-old William Gadoury claims he has discovered a long-lost ancient Mayan city using a clever combination of old-world astronomy and modern technology.
Passionate about ancient Maya, Gadoury analyzed 22 Mayan constellations and realized that the Mayans aligned their 117 cities with the positions of the stars. But he discovered that one star in another constellation that didn't have a corresponding city.
If his theory and calculations were correct, that would place the missing city in a remote coastal location on the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico.
Using satellite images from the Canadian Space Agency and Google Earth maps, Gadoury zeroed in on the precise location — and a pyramid and about thirty ancient buildings were spotted, partially hidden, in the dense forest.
"There are linear features that would suggest there is something underneath that big canopy," Canadian Space Agency liaison officer Daniel de Lisle told The Independent. "There are enough items to suggest it could be a man-made structure."
Gadoury has named the lost city K'aak Chi, or "Mouth of Fire." It is believed to be one of the five largest Mayan cities on record.
The discovery has won Gadoury praise from space agencies in Canada and Japan as well as NASA. He's also become a local hero in Quebec.
The young scientist — whose passion for the ancient civilization was sparked by reading Mayan doomsday prophesies in 2012 — was thrilled with his remarkable breakthrough.
"I did not understand why the Maya built their cities away from rivers, on marginal lands and in the mountains," he told the Journal de Montreal. "They had to have another reason, and as they worshiped the stars, the idea came to me to verify my hypothesis."
The jungle that houses the newly discovered city has not been explored, but Gadoury says he can't wait to see it for himself.
"It would be the culmination of my three years of work and the dream of my life."