From the Facebook desk of archaeologist Katie Rask (seconded by others) comes the following correction:
From the world renowned Maya specialist and Linda Schele Professor of Mesoamerican Art and Writing in the Department of Art and Art History at the University of Texas at Austin:
“This current news story of an ancient Maya city being discovered is false. I was trying to ignore it (and the media inquiries I’ve been getting) but now that it’s up on the BBC’s website I feel I ought to say something.
The whole thing is a mess — a terrible example of junk science hitting the internet in free-fall. The ancient Maya didn’t plot their ancient cities according to constellations. Seeing such patterns is a rorschach process, since sites are everywhere, and so are stars. The square feature that was found on Google Earth is indeed man-made, but it’s an old fallow cornfield, or milpa.”
So. Alas. Perhaps we can name the cornfield “Mouth of Fire”?