The government of Bolivia announced it will start exploratory excavations this year at the ancient fortress of Tiahuanaco after a buried pyramid was detected.

Ludwing Cayo, director of the Tiahuanaco Archeological Research Center, told Efe that the formation is located in the area of Kantatallita, east of the Akapana pyramid.

In a presentation for the media, Cayo outlined a five-year for further research at Tiahuanaco, an archaeological site 71 kilometers (44 miles) west of La Paz that was the cradle of an ancient civilization predating the Incas.

Excavations may start in May or June, depending on the timing of cooperation agreements with foreign universities and institutes to enroll more forensic archaeology experts in the effort, Cayo said.

Besides the pyramid, ground-penetrating radar has detected "a number of underground anomalies" that might be monoliths, but those findings require more detailed analysis.

Tiahuanaco was the capital of a pre-Columbian empire known as Tiwanaku that left a legacy of impressive stone monuments such as Kalasasaya, the semi-underground Templete, sculptures of prominent figures, the Gate of the Sun and ruins of palaces.

Bolivian researchers say Tiahuanaco began as an agricultural village around 1580 B.C. and grew to become an imperial state by A.D. 724, but was in decline by the late 12th century.

At its peak, the Tiwanaku realm occupied over 600,000 square kilometers (231,000 square miles). EFE