archeology · science · whiz kids

I’m feeling a lot older, less accomplished today

Just when I begin to feel maybe I’m not so old anymore, along comes 15-year-old Canadian student #William_Gadoury.

What’s he done? He’s discovered a #Mayan_city and not just any Mayan city, but the fourth largest found to date.

So how does a 15-year-old with enthusiasm for things Mayan get to the Yucatan to make such a discovery? Turns out he didn’t even get his boots dirty. 

In his family home in Saint-Jean-de-Matha, Quebec, the teen compared star charts to satellite images. He acted on a theory that the Mayans built their cities in places that correspond to stars in their constellations. By superimposing 22 Mayan star maps from a series of books known as the Madrid Codex on Google Earth images of the #Yucatan_Peninsula, he found all 117 known cities matched star positions.

Then he observed that something was missing. Two Mayan cities were discovered exactly where they should be on a star map, but a third star in a three-star constellation was not represented by a city. He theorized there was a third city that had not yet been discovered.

He followed up with the help of the Canadian Space Agency for maps to compare to Google Earth. Voila, there through the dense Mexican jungle he could see signs of a city where the third star of the constellation suggested it would be.

Much of young William’s life has been spent pursuing his fascination with the Mayans ever since he learned of a Mayan calendar predicting  the world would end in 2012.  News bulletin: It didn’t end in 2012. Then again, the Mayans lived 2,000-4,000 years too early to get William’s help with their predictions.

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