Ancient Temple Discovered Among Inca Ruins

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"The finding of an earlier temple near Sacsayhuaman seems to suggest this was a sacred area in pre-imperial times."

Researchers also discovered an ancient footpath or roadway that Camacho said was built during the period of Inca occupation.

"The path connected the fort at Sacsayhuaman with Lake Cochapata," Camacho said.

The roadway was lined with walls of mud and ran approximately 0.25 to 0.3 mile (400 to 500 meters) throughout the complex, Camacho said.

Archaeologists also detected traces of an ancient but simple aqueduct system, a type of gutter that ran alongside the road, possibly supplying water to the ancient city of Cusco.

Brian Bauer, an expert on the Inca at the University of Illinois, Chicago, said the newfound temple expands the known size of the Sacsayhuaman complex.

"The [National Institute of Culture] in Peru has been conducting a series of large scale excavations at Sacsayhuaman for several years," he said.

"This was one of the most important areas of ancient Cusco, and we know that there are early Inca remains there as well.

"The exact function of those earlier remains is unclear, but it is exciting that the complex appears to have been larger than previously thought."

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