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Keep Smiling English Reading & Use of English Part 5 - First

Long-Lost City Discovered Deep Within Honduras Rainforest


March 3, 2015 | by Stephen Luntz

The first archaeological expedition to a lost  ancient city in  eastern Honduras  has returned with
exciting new discoveries. The explorers have come back with a treasure trove of images, yet have
barely scratched the surface of what the city has to reveal about a culture so forgotten it lacks
even a name.

The discoveries include 52 objects that were half-buried in the ground in what seems to have
been an act of sacrifice before a temple. Among these is a carved head thought to represent a
combination of human and jaguar features. Many more items are presumed to be buried deeper
within the soil.

The extraordinary mathematics and architecture of the Mayan culture of Central America have
achieved considerable fame worldwide. However, shortly after their classic civilization collapsed,
something of possibly equal significance was going on to the east of the Mayans that
has remained almost entirely unknown until now.

While Professor Christopher Fisher of Colorado State University had heard rumors of what was
called the “White City” or the “City of the Monkey God,” the rainforest had reclaimed the city to
such an extent that its location was unknown, at least to outsiders, until 2012 when airborne
LiDAR  mapping revealed the city's likely presence. Those images showed  signs of buildings
stretching along a great swathe of riverbank.

When Fischer and his colleagues entered the lost city, they found that its isolation is so great that
it has escaped looting in the 600 or so years since it was abandoned. “This is clearly the most
undisturbed rain forest in Central America,” ethnobotanist Dr. Mark Plotkin of the Amazon
Conservation Team told National Geographic, whose photographer accompanied the team.

A lost city  might sound like something from an Indiana Jones film, but  three years ago Fisher
documented a Purépecha city in Mexico, which hosted a civilization that rivaled the Aztecs. The
archaeological team believe that the most recent find is one of several cities hidden in the forest
that have collectively given rise to the White City legends of the La Mosquitia region of Honduras.

The civilization that built the city is believed to have flourished from A.D. 1000 to 1400. The cause
of their demise is unknown, and almost all we can surmise about them comes from the findings of
this dig and comparisons with neighboring cultures of the same era.

One the most memorable objects uncovered  is  "a were-jaguar" that  "seems to be wearing a
helmet,” Fisher told National Geographic, and which might depict a shaman in a spirit state. Other
findings at the site include vessels carved with detailed renderings of animals and human-animal
combinations. None of the items have been removed, but detailed images have been taken—
although most of these are not yet available to the public.

The site's isolation has preserved its biological diversity  as well, but the researchers are
concerned that this may not last long. While they have kept the location secret to prevent looting,
Honduras' forests are being rapidly destroyed to graze cattle, and there are fears the city will be
revealed—and trashed—if a greedy rancher gets to the region.

The discovery of the ancient city is a consequence of efforts by documentary filmmakers Steve
Elkins  and Bill Benenson  who identified the potential location and organized the aerial mapping
that tipped Fisher off.

www.keepsmilingenglish.com
Keep Smiling English Reading & Use of English Part 5 - First

1. In the first paragraph we learn that


A. there have been several unsuccessful attempts to explore an ancient city.

B. the explorers have come back almost empty-handed.

C. we are near learning the name of the long-lost city.

D. there is more to this ancient city than the explorers have discovered.

2. According to the text,


A. digging will lead to finding more objects.
B. the 52 objects feature human and animal characteristics.

C. there is little that the Mayans didn’t know about this civilisation.

D. relatively few people are talking about the findings.

3. What hadn’t the city been discovered earlier?


A. Because people believed that its existence was just a legend.

B. Because vegetation was so dense that it could not be found.

C. Because native inhabitants refused to let other know where it was.

D. Because LiDAR mapping technology had not been developed yet.

4. What do we learn about this long-lost city in paragraphs 5 and 6?


A. Its civilisation was probably as important as the Aztec civilisation.

B. Its privileged location means it’s virtually untouched.


C. It was probably at war with the Aztecs.

D. This city, alone, is responsible for the legends of the White City.

5. What do we learn about the objects found at the city?


A. There’s one that stands out above the rest.
B. Most of them represent spiritual guides with animal features.

C. They will soon be available to the public.

D. They have been taken so that scientist can take pictures.

6. What are researchers worried about?


A. That the biological diversity will eventually ruin the city.

B. That Honduras may soon run out of rainforests.

C. That the farming industry may cause the city to be revealed.

D. That they might not be able to prevent it from being looted.

www.keepsmilingenglish.com
Keep Smiling English Reading & Use of English Part 5 - First

KEY
1. D
2. A
3. B
4. B
5. A
6. C

Source:
Author of original material (text, audio, video, etc.): Stephen Luntz
Platform: I Fucking Love Science (www.iflsciencie.com)
Direct link to source: http://www.iflscience.com/environment/lost-city-studied-first-time
Adapted by: Keep Smiling English

Keep Smiling English is responsible solely for the adaptation of the original text, and for the
creation of the activities. This material is meant to be used for non-commercial purposes
only, and the original source/author of the text should always be acknowledged.

www.keepsmilingenglish.com
Keep Smiling English Reading & Use of English Part 5 - First

KEY: Answers underlined


Long-Lost City Discovered Deep Within Honduras Rainforest
March 3, 2015 | by Stephen Luntz

The first archaeological expedition to a lost  ancient city in  eastern Honduras  has returned with
exciting new discoveries. The explorers have come back with a treasure trove of images, yet have
barely scratched the surface of what the city has to reveal about a culture so forgotten it lacks
even a name.

The discoveries include 52 objects that were half-buried in the ground in what seems to have
been an act of sacrifice before a temple. Among these is a carved head thought to represent a
combination of human and jaguar features. Many more items are presumed to be buried
deeper within the soil.
The extraordinary mathematics and architecture of the Mayan culture of Central America have
achieved considerable fame worldwide. However, shortly after their classic civilization collapsed,
something of possibly equal significance was going on to the east of the Mayans that
has remained almost entirely unknown until now.

While Professor Christopher Fisher of Colorado State University had heard rumors of what was
called the “White City” or the “City of the Monkey God,” the rainforest had reclaimed the city to
such an extent that its location was unknown, at least to outsiders, until 2012 when airborne
LiDAR  mapping revealed the city's likely presence. Those images showed  signs of buildings
stretching along a great swathe of riverbank.

When Fischer and his colleagues entered the lost city, they found that its isolation is so
great that it has escaped looting in the 600 or so years since it was abandoned. “This is clearly
the most undisturbed rain forest in Central America,” ethnobotanist Dr. Mark Plotkin of the
Amazon Conservation Team  told National Geographic, whose photographer accompanied the
team.

A lost city  might sound like something from an Indiana Jones film, but  three years ago Fisher
documented a Purépecha city in Mexico, which hosted a civilization that rivaled the Aztecs. The
archaeological team believe that the most recent find is one of several cities hidden in the
forest that have collectively given rise to the White City legends of the La Mosquitia region of
Honduras.

The civilization that built the city is believed to have flourished from A.D. 1000 to 1400. The cause
of their demise is unknown, and almost all we can surmise about them comes from the findings of
this dig and comparisons with neighboring cultures of the same era.

One the most memorable objects uncovered is "a were-jaguar" that "seems to be wearing a


helmet,” Fisher told National Geographic, and which might depict a shaman in a spirit state.
Other findings at the site include vessels carved with detailed renderings of animals and human-
animal combinations. None of the items have been removed, but detailed images have been
taken—although most of these are not yet available to the public.

The site's isolation has preserved its biological diversity  as well, but the researchers are
concerned that this may not last long. While they have kept the location secret to prevent looting,
Honduras' forests are being rapidly destroyed to graze cattle, and there are fears the city will be
revealed—and trashed—if a greedy rancher gets to the region.
The discovery of the ancient city is a consequence of efforts by documentary filmmakers Steve
Elkins  and Bill Benenson  who identified the potential location and organized the aerial mapping
that tipped Fisher off.

www.keepsmilingenglish.com