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A view is seen from the Amazon Tall Tower Observatory (ATTO) in Sao Sebastiao do Uatuma in the middle of the Amazon forest in Amazonas state January 10, 2015. Reuters/Bruno Kelly

For over a hundred years, explorers and archaeologists have led expeditions to the vast swamps, rivers and mountains located in the tropical rainforests of La Mosquitia, Honduras. Although rumors of the existence of a mythical “White City” or “Ciudad Blanca” have swirled around since the 1920s, the lost city, referred to in local folklore as the “City of Monkey God,” remained undiscovered until now.

A team of archaeologists from Colorado State University and the Honduran Institute of Anthropology and History have finally discovered extensive remains of what was possibly either a single pre-Columbian city or a cluster of “lost cities” inhabited between the years 1000 and 1400.

“The importance of this place can’t be overestimated,” Mark Plotkin, an ethnobotanist who was a part of the expedition, told National Geographic, which revealed the discovery. In addition to a widespread network of plazas, earthworks, mounds, and an earthen pyramid, the archaeologists also discovered a massive cache of stone sculptures.

“The undisturbed context is unique,” Christopher Fisher, a Mesoamerican archaeologist from Colorado State University, who was a part of the team, reportedly said, referring to the artifacts that have remained untouched for a millennium in one of the most remote locations on Earth. He speculated that these artifacts, which include finely carved vessels depicting animals like snakes and vultures, may have been an offering. “This is a powerful ritual display, to take wealth objects like this out of circulation,” he reportedly said.

As of now, the location of the ruins has not been revealed to protect the site from looters. The artifacts discovered at the site have also been left unexcavated.

“We’re very excited to bring to life this lost culture … We hope to continue this work in the future to more fully unravel this puzzle through archaeological excavation and ecological investigation,” Fisher said, in a statement.

The enigma surrounding the existence of the fabled city, populated by a vanished culture that has barely been studied, has, in the past, given rise to several claims of discovery. In 1940, Theodore Morde, an American adventurer, made such a claim and reportedly brought back several artifacts from the forests of Honduras after a five-month expedition. However, he died before revealing the location of the site he supposedly discovered.