Peruvian experts cast doubts on discovery of Inca city

Story Filed: Saturday, June 08, 2002 10:53 PM EST ( Spanish news agency)

Lima, Jun 08, 2002 (EFE via COMTEX) -- Experts at Peru's National Culture Institute have cast doubt on the reported discovery of a new Inca city near the ruins of Machu Picchu, institute archaeologist Wilber San Roman told EFE Saturday.

British archaeologists Hugh Thompson and Gary Ziegler said recently in London that they had found what they believed to be an Inca city at Cota Coca, in the region of Vilcabamba, some 50 kilometers (31 miles) from Machu Picchu.

Thomas said they found ruins of more than 30 buildings, including a series of balconies 22.8 meters (74 feet) long, built around a square.

According to San Roman, Peruvian archaeologist Ernesto Garcia Calderon toured the site discovered by Thompson and Ziegler five months ago and reported "that he had found 30 round rustic dwellings lacking the beauty typical of an Inca city."

"They are small isolated settlements, rustic constructions, without squares or temples, which are indispensable if a city is to be compared to Mach Picchu," San Roman added.

He said the buildings were roughly 10 meters (32 feet) apart from one another.

Noting the British archaeologists had apparently entered the park without permission from Peruvian authorities, San Roman deplored the fact that "in the past 10 years, some foreigners have announced great findings no one has confirmed, to gain notoriety or funds for their research."

Another Cuzco archaeologist, Justo Torres, told the Peruvian newspaper Ojo he had toured the area visited by the British pair, and that he had never seen any ruins, "except for those already known as the Manco Inca palace."

Torres urged people to be skeptical about the "discovery" by Thompson and Ziegler, as "there is not even a place called Cota Coca" in the Vilcabamba region.

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