L A P A Z, Bolivia, Aug. 24, 2000 -- A stone anchor andanimal bones were among the artifacts scientists Wednesdaysaid they had found beneath South America’s Lake Titicaca inwhat is thought to be a giant 1000-year-old temple.
After 18 days of diving below the clear waters of Titicaca,scientists said Tuesday they had discovered a 660-footlong, 160-foot wide temple, a terracefor crops, a pre-Incan road and an 2,600-footcontaining wall.
“I strongly support the hypothesis that was was found bythe ‘Atahuallpa 2000’ expedition are the ruins of a submergedpre-Columbian temple,” said Eduardo Pareja, a Bolivianscientist who was among those who explored the site, around 90miles northeast of the Bolivian capital La Paz.
Filmed During 200 Dives
Pareja, who termed the discovery the greatest archeologicalfind of the new millennium, showed Reuters the artifacts in hissmall office at Bolivia’s National Archeology Department. Hesaid the animal bones—of cameloid animals such as llamas —might have been from sacrifices.
“This material is very valuable because it containsinformation that can help uncover some of the great mysteriesof South American cultures,” he said.
The expedition “Atahuallpa 2000,” backed by theinternational scientific group Akakor Geographical Exploring,made over 200 dives into water 65 to 100 feetdeep to record the remains on film and with photographs.
The expedition will publish complete findings of its studyin November and plans to eventually raise more archeologicalremains to the surface.
Predates the Incan Empire
Lake Titicaca, some 12,464 feet above sealevel, lies on the border between Bolivia and Peru, and is thehighest navigable lake in the world. The indigenous peoples whofirst inhabited the area called Titicaca their “holy lake.”
The Tihuanacu people lived on its shores before they becamepart of the Incan empire with its base in Cusco, Peru.Spaniards arrived in the 16th century to change the regionforever.
The submerged ruins were found in an area of the lakebetween the town of Copacabana and the popular touristdestinations of the Island of the Sun and Island of the Moon.
The research involved 10 scientists from Italy, 10 fromBrazil, five Bolivians, two Germans and a Romanian.