Archaeologists have begun excavations what they believe to be the legendary lost city of Ciudad Blanca, or White City, in the Honduran jungle.
So far, they have removed dozens of artifacts, including a vessel with vulture-shaped handles, a clay tray with a jaguar's head and a stone-made throne carved with a jaguar - possibly the remains of a ceremonial temple.
The ruins, which appear to date between 1,000 and 1,500 AD are distinct from the cultures of the ancient Maya civilization.
"It is a new culture, or a different culture," said Virgilio Paredes, the director of the Honduras' Institute of Anthropology and Colorado.
It is believed the city's name is derived from the white limestone rock in the area and was first mentioned by Spanish conquistadors in the 16th century.
Thedore Morde suggested in 1940 the city was in fact the White City of the Monkey God.
Writing of his sighting in the US magazine The American Weekly, he said people from local tribes had told him of a monkey worshipping civilization. There were legends a monkey from the city kidnapped a local woman, breeding half-human, half-monkey children.
The excavation site was visited by Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández, who said: "We are blessed to be alive at such a special time in Honduran history.
He added: "This discovery has created a lot of excitement because of its significance for Honduras and the world."
The site was found by explorers last year, who mapped extensive plazas, earthworks and mounds.
Artifacts excavated from the city will be displayed in a museum in Catacamas.
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