A NORTH Dorset explorer has discovered evidence of an ancient water route connecting the Pacific and Atlantic oceans.
Col John Blashford-Snell made the breakthrough on his recent trip to the Central American country of Nicaragua.
It is believed the route, which encompasses rivers, a lake and flood plains, would be more ancient than the Panama Canal.
The research focused on the strip of west-coast land separating Lake Nicaragua from the Pacific. A local fisherman told how he managed to cross the strip on a temporary lake created during wet
“It seems likely that even if early cartographers did not see this lake, they were told about it by the indigenous people and thus drew a channel on their maps,” said Col Blashford-Snell.
“I’m sure this is how the story of a legendary route between the oceans started.”
Clear evidence of flooding was found at the site of the supposed lake by the expedition team.
Col Blashford-Snell is now considering a waterborne crossing of Nicaragua, from ocean to ocean, to establish the ancient route.
The waterway research taps into a wider theory proposed by writer Gavin Menzies, who asked the celebrated explorer to undertake the expedition.
Ancient maps indicate a channel crossing Central America, and Chinese DNA and artefacts have also been found in the region.
Local history also tells of a Chinese presence and European explorers recorded Chinese wrecks.
Several areas were found by the team where rivers flowing east to Lake Nicaragua and west to the Pacific rose within a few hundred yards of each other.
One site between two rivers indicated possible walls of an in-filled canal.