Washington, Jan 17 : Archaeologists have discovered ruins in southern Peru that could be the ancient "lost city" of Paititi.
According to a report in National Geographic News, details about the new discovery came out when Peru's state news agency reported that "an archaeological fortress" had been discovered in the district of Kimbiri, with the district's mayor suggesting it was the lost city.
Mayor Guillermo Torres described the ruins as a 430,000-square-foot (40,000-square-meter) fortification near an area known as Lobo Tahuantinsuyo.
Few other details about the site were offered, but initial reports described elaborately carved stone structures forming the base of a set of walls.
Paititi - the lost city, which has been described in written records as a stone settlement adorned with gold statues, has long been a grail for explorers, as well as drawing in local tourism businesses.
The city is believed to have been located somewhere east of the Andes Mountains in the rain forest of southeastern Peru, southwestern Brazil, or northern Bolivia.
Though a missionary in 1600, reported seeing a large "city of gold" in the region where the lost city is believed to have been built, the location of the newfound site falls counter to where historical records indicate Paititi should be.
But, according to Francisco Solas, an INC (National Institute of Culture) official, "It is far too early to make any definitive judgments."
"Paititi is frequently the first thing people mention when something like this is found," said Daniel Gade, professor emeritus in geography at the University of Vermont, adding that there are many ruins in the jungle regions of the area.
Nonetheless, the finding offered intriguing possibilities for archaeologists.
"The first task will be to determine if the newfound ruins are the work of the Inca or pre-Inca ethnic groups," said Solas.
"It is a bit off the beaten path but still within the Inca's reach," said Gregory Deyermenjian, a US-based psychologist and explorer who has led many expeditions to investigate the Paititi legend.