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Ancient Temple Ruins Found Under Lake Titicaca

21st August 2000

LA PAZ, Bolivia (Reuters) - The remains of what is thought to be a 1,000- to 1,500-year-old temple have been found below the waters of South America's lake Titicaca, a scientific expedition said Tuesday. "We've found what appears to have been a 200-metre (660 feet) long, 50-metre (160 feet) wide holy temple, a terrace for crops, a pre-Incan road and an 800-metre (2,600 feet) long containing wall," said Lorenzo Apis, the Italian scientist leading the expedition in a region of the lake around 90 miles (150 km) northeast of the Bolivian capital La Paz. The expedition "Atahuallpa 2000," backed by the international scientific group Akakor Geographical Exploring, made over 200 dives into water 65 to 100 feet (20-30 metres) deep to record the remains on film and with photographs. The expedition will publish complete findings of its 18-day study in November and plans to eventually raise archeologicalremains to the surface. The ruins were found in an area of the lake between the town of Copacabana and the popular tourist destinations of the Island of the Sun and Island of the Moon. The research involved 10 scientists from Italy, 10 from Brazil, five Bolivians, two Germans and a Romanian. Lake Titicaca, some 12,464 feet (3,800 metres) above sea level, lies on the border between Bolivia and Peru, and is the highest navigable lake in the world. The Tihuanacu culture lived on its shores before they became part of the Incan empire with its base in Cusco, Peru. "All this means our civilizations have left more footprints than we had thought," said Antonio Eguino, Bolivia's vice minister of culture, whose government pledged financial and technical support to preserve and protect the ruins.

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