Jump to content

Lost City of Z

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Lost City of Z is the name given by Col. Percy Harrison Fawcett, a British surveyor of the early 20th Century, to an indigenous city that he believed had existed in the jungle of the Mato Grosso state of Brazil. Based on early histories of South America and his own explorations of the Amazon River region, Fawcett theorized that a complex civilization once existed there, and that isolated ruins may have survived.[1]


The British surveyor Percy Fawcett in 1911, who believed an indigenous city, which he called "the Lost City of Z", had existed in the Brazilian jungle.

Fawcett found a document known as Manuscript 512, held at the National Library of Brazil, believed to have been written by Portuguese bandeirante João da Silva Guimarães [pt]. According to the document, in 1753, a group of bandeirantes discovered the ruins of an ancient city that contained arches, a statue and a temple with hieroglyphs. He described the city ruins in great detail without giving its location.[citation needed]

Manuscript 512 was written after explorations made in the sertão of the province of Bahia.[2][page needed] Fawcett intended to pursue finding this city as a secondary goal after "Z". He was preparing an expedition to find "Z" when World War I broke out and the British government suspended its support. Fawcett returned to Britain and served on the Western Front during the war. In 1920 Fawcett undertook a personal expedition to find the city but withdrew after suffering from fever and having to shoot his pack animal.[1] On a second expedition in 1925, Fawcett, his son Jack, and Jack's friend Raleigh Rimell disappeared in the Mato Grosso jungle.

Researchers believe that Fawcett may have been influenced in his thinking by information obtained from indigenous people about the archaeological site of Kuhikugu, near the headwaters of the Xingu River.[3][page needed] In 2022, the remains of settlements near Llanos de Moxos were surveyed using Lidar. The sites contains the ruins of pyramids, causeways and other infrastructure, supporting Fawcett's theory about ancient settlements in the Amazon.[4][5]

In popular culture[edit]

In 2005, the American journalist David Grann published an article in The New Yorker on Fawcett's expeditions and findings, titled "The Lost City of Z".[1] In 2009 he developed it into a book of the same title and, in 2016, it was adapted by writer-director James Gray into a film also of the same name starring Charlie Hunnam, Robert Pattinson, Tom Holland and Sienna Miller.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Grann, David (19 September 2005). "The Lost City of Z". The New Yorker. Vol. LXXXI, no. 28. pp. 56–81. ISSN 0028-792X.
  2. ^ Fawcett 1953.
  3. ^ Grann, David (2009). The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon. Doubleday. ISBN 978-0-385-51353-1.
  4. ^ Whipple, Tom; Hammond, Norman (25 May 2022). "Lost city with pyramids found in impenetrable Amazon jungle". The Times. London, Eng. Retrieved 9 June 2024.
  5. ^ Handwerk, Brian (25 May 2022). "Lost Cities of the Amazon Discovered From the Air". Smithsonian Magazine. Retrieved 10 June 2024.
  6. ^ Jagernauth, Kevin (19 August 2015). "James Gray's 'The Lost City Of Z' Starts Shooting, Marvel's Spider-Man Tom Holland Joins The Cast". IndieWire. Archived from the original on 10 December 2015. Retrieved 15 December 2017.


Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]