In a scene straight from Raiders of the Lost Ark, archaeologists believe they have found the fabled lost White City of the Monkey God in Honduras.
Aided by former Special Air Service (SAS) soldiers, the team of scientists uncovered the location in the Mosquitia jungle, along Honduras's eastern coast, over 500 years after the last time it was visited, according to National Geographic.
The ruins were identified in May 2012 using a remote-sensing method that uses light in the form of a pulsed laser known as Light Detection and Ranging, or LIDAR.
The archaeological discovery wasn't confirmed until it was “ground-truthed".
The rain forest surrounding the area is so primeval that the animals appear never to have seen humans before, reported the National Geographic.
Mark Plotkin, ethnobotanist, said: "This is clearly the most undisturbed rain forest in Central America. The importance of this place can’t be overestimated."
Explorers have attempted to uncover the extreme wealth of "Ciudad Blanca", so called because its buildings and a wall around it were of white stone, since the time of Hernán Cortés and the Spanish conquistadors in 1520.
Real-life Indiana Jones character Theodore Morde claimed to have found the city in the 1940s, having returned from Mosquitia with thousands of artefacts. But he refused to divulge the location and later committed suicide.
Christopher Fisher, a Mesoamerican archaeologist on the team from Colorado State University, said the pristine, unlooted condition of the site was “incredibly rare". He speculated that the cache, found at the base of the pyramid, may have been an offering.
The site contains a wealth of artefacts, including ceremonial furniture and statues.
The objects have been documented but left unexcavated in order to protect the site from looters. The exact location is not being revealed. ®