After years of searchers, diving archaeologists have discovered a box made from volcanic rock beneath Lake Titicaca – the largest lake in South America which is situated in Peru and Bolivia. After opening the tightly sealed box, researchers found a small llama, carved from the shell of a spiny mollusc called a spondylus and a small sheet of gold which is believed to have been part of a bracelet.
Researchers believe these findings were placed in the lake by the Inca civilisation as an offering to appease their gods.
A thorough search of the lake revealed the box, known as the K’akaya box, was placed there by itself at least 500 years ago.
What makes the finding more unique is that most Inca offerings to the Gods in Lake Titicaca are found near the Island of the Sun or the Khoa reef.
This item was found near to the K’akaya reef, which could open the possibilities of finding more places of worship used by the Inca empire.
Maritime archaeologist Christophe Delaere from the Université libre de Bruxelles in Belgium said: “The inland underwater world remains largely unexplored and offers outstanding opportunities to understand prehistoric societies.
“The underwater heritage of Lake Titicaca still has many surprises to reveal.
“One of the goals of our underwater archaeological survey was to identify the existence of similar sites and to our surprise we found at least one.
“It presents not only one of the rare intact discoveries of an Inca underwater offering, but also that it was found at another place in the lake, which has an important implication for understanding the relationship between the expanding Inca empire, the local communities who lived in the lake, and Lake Titicaca itself prior to European contact.”
The research, published in the archaeological journal Antiquity, added: “The location and orientation of the K’akaya’s offering seem deliberate.
“The K’akaya reef is almost directly north of Khoa, suggesting a strong spatial link between the two sites.”
Lake Titicaca is a popular hunting ground for archaeologists who are searching for ancient riches of South American civilisations.
Last year, researchers discovered evidence of ritual offerings from the Tiwanaku people to unknown deities near the Island of the Sun.
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The group were among the most powerful and successful of all the tribes in the Andes mountain range until the arrival of the Inca people in around the 12th century AD.
Sacrificed llamas, gold and stone ornaments and ceramic feline incense burners were discovered by researchers at the bottom of the lake.
The team of researchers from the University of Oxford and Penn State University, in Pennsylvania, state the items date back to between 500 and 1,100 AD – some 500 years before the Inca people arrived at Lake Titicaca.
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