Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Lost City of Z

For all you fans of Colonel Percy Harrison Fawcett, here's the city he was looking for:

The Lost City of Z is the name given by Col. Percy Harrison Fawcett, a British surveyor, to a city that he thought existed in the jungle of the Mato Grosso region of Brazil. This mysterious city is referenced in a document known as Manuscript 512, housed at the National Library of Rio De Janeiro by a Portuguese explorer (Bandeirante) who wrote that he visited the city in 1753. The city is described in great detail without providing a specific location. Fawcett allegedly heard about this city in the early 1900s and went to Rio De Janeiro to learn more, and came across the earlier report. He was about to go in search of the city when World War I intervened. In 1925, Fawcett and his son Jack disappeared in the Mato Grosso.

David Grann's The New Yorker article "The Lost City of Z" (2005) was expanded into a book The Lost City of Z (2009) and a forthcoming movie. It was reported that an archaeologist, Michael Heckenberger, might have found the city at the site known as Kuhikugu. He had discovered clusters of settlements (20 settlements in all) with each cluster containing up to 5000 people and said "All these settlements were laid out with a complicated plan, with a sense of engineering and mathematics that rivalled anything that was happening in much of Europe at the time."

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