A team of explorers has discovered the ruins of a lost city in Peru that has been hidden in a remote mountain jungle for over 500 years. The city is called Cota Coca and it?s not far from the well-known tourist site of Machu Picchu. The “coca” refers to the coca leaf which grows there and was probably used in religious rituals.

British explorer Hugh Thomson and his team found the lost city, which he says is in a “remarkable state of preservation.? He?s amazed by his discovery and says, ?You’re only going to find a new Inca site once in your life.”

Cota Coca?s ruins consist of about 30 stone buildings placed around a central plaza. One structure is believed to be a large meeting hall. “This is an important discovery, because it is a sizeable center of good-quality late-Inca masonry,” says John Hemming, an expert on the ancient Incas.

The newly discovered site is hidden at the bottom of a near-inaccessible river canyon in dense jungle and is almost inaccessible. This is what may save it in the long run, unlike Machu Picchu, which is quickly being destroyed by the many tourists who walk through it every year.

Like Machu Picchu, Cota Coca is located on a plateau above a deep canyon. The nearby river and valley have become impassable, so the expedition had to approach the city from the mountains above, trekking for five days through thick jungle. “Getting there was quite something,” says Thomson. In Inca times, the explorers say, there may have been a road linking Cota Coca to the Inca city of Choquequirao. But it may have always been an isolate fortress. Cota Coca was probably one of the places the Incas escaped to while retreating from Spanish invaders in 1532, before the Incas were defeated 40 years later.

Is Atlantis in the New World? Find out by reading ?Atlantis in America? by Ivar Zapp and George Erikson, click here.

See news story ?Machu Picchu About to Collapse?, click here.

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