Life

This Teen Discovered An Ancient Mayan City By Studying The Stars

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Remember when you were little and you’d obsess over things? Things like Pokemon cards or My Little Pony? Maybe you remember doing everything you could to soak up all of the Transformers knowledge out there. Over time, though, you probably moved on… at least a little. Kids ultimately get caught up in the complex social worlds of high school or D&D. Obsessions change and interests diversify.

What if your obsessions weren’t fruitless, though? What if, while you were still young, you realized something profound which actually contributed to that knowledge pool? Enter William Gadoury, a 15-year-old student from Saint-Jean-de-Matha in Lanaudière, Quebec.

The kid obsessed, like most of us once did, except instead of drawing Optimus Prime’s new sidekick, he discovered a new city using ancient star maps. NBD.

The clever teen has been studying all things Mayan for several years, devouring any information he came across. During his research, he looked at 22 Mayan constellations and found out that if he projected those constellations onto a map, the shapes corresponded perfectly with the locations of 117 Mayan cities. Pretty cool discovery for a 15-year-old, right? It gets better.


Gadoury was the first person to make this correlation, but then took it a step further. He found a twenty-third constellation which contained three stars, but only two of them corresponded to known cities. From the study hall chalkboard, Gadoury drew up a hypothesis. There had to be a city in the place where that third star fell on the map.

Once Gadoury had established where he thought the city should be, the young man reached out to the Canadian Space Agency who helped him check his findings with satellites through NASA and JAXA, the Japanese space agency.

Sure enough, the kid was right and named the city K’ÀAK ‘CHI — a Mayan phrase which means “fire mouth.” The next move for Gadoury will be seeing the city in person. With the help of Canada’s space agency, two Mexican archaeologists have promised to let the boy join their expedition to the site.

In a recent interview, Gadoury exclaimed, “It would be the culmination of three years of work and the dream of lifetime.”

Go get ’em kid, obsess your heart out and keep looking to the stars.

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