City of Angamuco, Michoacán, Mexico
A Newly Documented Purépecha Urban Center on the eve of European Contact
Since the early 1990’s Dr. Fisher’s research has centered on unraveling the complex set of social and environmental variables that resulted in the formation of the Late Postclassic (CE 1350-1520) Purépecha (Tarascan) Empire located in the Lake Pátzcuaro Basin, Michoacán, Mexico. During the course of this work in 2007 he and his team first documented an ancient city which they now call Angamuco.
To better characterize this new urban center they turned to LiDAR – a relatively new technique that creates a 3D map of the ground surface – to better understand this new urban center. The resulting data, new kinds of analysis, and sophisticated understanding of this place changed the course of his career. Initial survey and analysis was followed by two years of excavation and survey. Work at Angamuco is on-going with upcoming excavation and survey planned for 2018. Previous work at Angamuco has been supported by the National Science Foundation, NASA, National Geographic, and private donors.
City of the Jaguar, La Mosquitia, Honduras
A newly discovered city in a pristine rainforest.
In 2012, two documentary filmmakers (Steve Elkins and Bill Benenson) contacted Chris Fisher and his team to see if they could better analyze newly acquired LiDAR for the Mosquitia region of Honduras. Known as the ‘Little Amazon’, the Mosquitia region contains the last tract of contiguous rainforest left in Central America. Evident in these records were two undocumented ancient cities embedded within a completely human modified environment.
Ground verification of one of these settlements in 2015, now called the City of the Jaguar, resulted in the discovery of a cache of artifacts left at the center of the city as an offering when the city was abandoned.
National Geographic magazine wrote about the expedition in the October 2015. The New York Times best seller “Lost City of the Monkey God: A True Story” written by Douglas Preston was based on the exploration.
The materials were in imminent danger of being disturbed. Chris and his team felt an ethical obligation to recover those artifacts most in danger and consolidate the rest. In 2016 with the support of National Geographic and the Honduran Government, Chris returned to the City of the Jaguar for a month of excavation and conservation.
Previous work at Jaguar has been supported by National Geographic, the Honduran Government, and private individuals.