It is known as the City of Gold because popular legend has it that it was a repository for vast quantities of gold, much of which may remain still in the city buried in its jungle canopy. Travellers have reported seeing golden idols there, and it is said to be the birthplace of the Aztec god Quetzalcoatl. The treasure hunters who believe there is profit to be had are thrilled as further evidence, the result of 3D mapping, proves what they long to be true.
The natives, however, are not so happy. Their beliefs about the White City are rather different, in that their Indian legends centre on its sacred status both past and present: for them, it is home to their indigenous gods, and just to enter the place as an explorer or archaeologist or anything other than a religious supplicant would be sacrilege. Their view that it should be left alone, guarded by the forests, is unlikely to prevail.
It reminds me of the finding of Macchu Picchu in Peru, another sacred city hidden by tropical mountain forest for hundreds of years until it was discovered by Hiram Bingham in 1911, essentially a treasure hunter who took many of the cultural artifacts he discovered back to America, where they are held still. This very special place is under threat from too many tourists and from inadequate preservation by the authorities, and I believe that if it continues to be dishonoured it will be reclaimed by the rainforests which surround it and will disappear, this time forever.
The finding, perhaps, of the lost City of Gold in Honduras is an opportunity to conduct the archaeology and research sensitively this time, making its history and teachings for us the priority and not the opportunity for the Honduran government or others to make money out of it through exploitation of something very precious: it is a test of values and humanity and nature, no-one else, will decide how well we do.
Claire Montanaro is a spiritual teacher, channel and blogger. Loves nature and wildlife. Author of Spiritual Wisdom.