A complex of ancient Inca platforms, a storeroom and a ceremonial court were unearthed while maintenance and preservation works were underway at Ollantaytambo archaeological park in the southern Peruvian region of Cuzco, officials said.
The archeological remains were discovered by guards and conservation workers at the Peñas archaeological site near the road leading to Abra Malaga and Quillabamba, the Culture Ministry's Decentralized Culture Directorate of Cuzco said.
The find occurred in a rocky area totally covered by lush vegetation, archaeologist and park manager Oscar Montufar said.
The platforms covering approximately 5 hectares (12 acres) were built with different heights and lengths, and have cantilevered stairs and built-in stairways leading from one platform to the next.
Also found was a stone enclosure with one side built against an enormous boulder that was apparently used for ceremonial purposes, as well as rocky shelters for funerary rites and a storeroom for food, the latter very deteriorated.
Its state of ruin was caused during construction of the Cuzco-Quillabamba highway in 1933, officials said.
The platforms were presumably built to contain eventual landslides, to expand agricultural land and for staging ceremonies.
"We have cut away and removed the thick vegetation from the area and we will now proceed to make the corresponding study of the site. Later we will work up an emergency conservation project for this archaeological site whose existence was unknown up to now," Montufar said.
The newly discovered area "in the future will be on the tourist trail of platforms and stone structures in the Peñas sector" of Ollantaytambo park, located some 61 kilometers (38 miles) from the city of Cuzco, the ancient capital of the Inca Empire, the archaeologist said.