A 15-year-old from Quebec has taken a page out of Indiana Jones's book, minus the hat, whip and journey to an unknown destination halfway across the world.
All William Gadoury needed was a map or two and satellite imagery. Presto! An archeological discovery: the fourth-largest Mayan city ever discovered. He didn’t even have to deal with snakes, let alone leave his own home, according to Le Journal De Montréal.
The teen combined his longstanding fascination with Mayan history, his curious mind and a good question: Why did the Mayans always settle far away from water and in hard-to-reach places such as mountain ranges?
In his research, Gadoury observed 22 Mayan constellations and found if he plotted them on a map, they corresponded with 117 known Mayan cities. He was the first to determine the relation. Then, what really caught Gadoury’s eye was a constellation of three stars. One had yet to be correlated to any known city.
He later confirmed his theory with satellite images after reaching out to the Canadian Space Agency, which obtained satellites from NASA and JAXA, the Japanese agency.
“What makes William’s project fascinating is the depth of his research,” says Canadian Space Agency liaison officer Daniel de Lisle in a Yahoo! News article. “Linking the positions of stars to the location of a lost city along with the use of satellite images on a tiny territory to identify the remains buried under dense vegetation is quite exceptional.”
Because he was responsible for the discovery, the 15-year-old had the honor of naming the new city. He settled with K'ÀAK ‘CHI, a Mayan phrase that means “fire mouth” in English.
Of course, he plans on visiting the city sometime soon.
“It would be the culmination of three years of work and the dream of lifetime,” Gadoury says in the article.
We say go for it! In the words of Indiana Jones: “Fortune and glory, kid. Fortune and glory.”