EFETegucigalpa

Honduran archaeologists doubt that a site in La Mosquitia region found by a National Geographic Society team is the White City that for decades has been talked about in the Central American country.

The discovery, reported last Monday by National Geographic magazine and international and local media outlets, is not the White City, Honduran Anthropology and History Institute, or IHAH, archaeology department chief Oscar Castro said.

The three archaeological sites found in the easternmost region of La Mosquitia may belong to a culture not previously known in the country, Castro said.

Honduras, according to experts here, has numerous archaeological sites and most of them have not been discovered, while the country has limited resources to support this kind of research.

After 100 years of digs, only about 10 percent of the Copan archaeological park, located in western Honduras and home to extensive stone structures from the Maya civilization, has been explored.

The discovery reported by National Geographic could correspond to different sites that extend from La Mosquitia, part of which is in Gracias a Dios province, into Nicaragua, Castro said.

In 1994, explorers found a cave and an underground river with skulls that shine as a result of the humid environment and other effects of time in Gracias a Dios province.

The Cuevas de Talgua caverns, according to some Honduran archaeologists, may contain traces of a community that lived in the area around 900 B.C.

Some archaeologists say that some clay and stone pieces found in Olancho may belong to the pre-Columbian Olmec culture.

The discovery reported by National Geographic includes hieroglyphs with images of animals, pyramids and squares, INAH officials said.

In May 1969, the defunct El Dia newspaper reported on the supposed discovery of a "white city" in La Mosquitia's jungles.

The site, according to old stories, was a sacred city of the Monkey God, with some elements common in the new version from National Geographic and others circulating in Honduran media in recent years.

Whether the finding of the White City as reported by National Geographic proves to be true or not, it has revived the myth of an archaeological and sacred site in the Central American country.