"a private expedition to make excavations among the ruined cities of Central America"
Fragments of Mayan sculpture
Public DomainFragments of Mayan sculpture - Credit: Henry Sandham, Century Magazine, 1898

The ancient kingdom of the Mayans existed from the 5th century to the early 9th century.  The city of Copán, the capital of the Mayan civilisation, was located in what is now western Honduras.  The city began flourishing around 150 AD, and reached its height around 700-850 AD.  From Copán, the Mayans ruled a vast kingdom.

The Jaguar Stairway
Public DomainThe Jaguar Stairway - Credit: Henry Sandham, Century Magainze, 1898

Mayan civilisation suffered a marked decline during the 9th century, but there is evidence of people still living in and around the city until at least 1200. 

By the time the Spanish arrived in Honduras in 1502, the once great city-state of Copán was overrun by the jungle.