A llama figurine and a gold bracelet discovered at the bottom of a lake in South America were Incan offerings to the gods, researchers claim.
The offerings were found in a stone box at the bottom of Lake Titicaca in the Andes mountains between Bolivia and Peru by a team from Penn State University.
This is first to be found on the K'akaya reef, while other offerings have been discovered along the lake's Khao reef, an important Inca ceremonial site.
The offering box was retrieved intact by professional divers off one of the islands in the K'akaya Archipelago, although currents had eroded one of its sides.
A llama figurine and a gold bracelet discovered at the bottom of a lake in South America were Incan offerings to the gods, researchers claim
This is first to be found on the K'akaya reef, while other offerings have been discovered along the lake's Khao reef, an important Inca ceremonial site
Assistant Professor Dr Jose Capriles said they knew the Incan did some form of ritual offerings and that they put them in the lake.
'The 16th and 17th century chronicles indicate there were submerged offerings.'
Contents were found 'resting' beneath a layer of silt, which had filtered in because the box was not water tight, despite being tightly sealed.
A statue of a llama carved out of a Spondylus shell and a roll of gold foil, were discovered inside the box.
The K'akaya Archipelago is west of Challapata Bay in the eastern shore of Lake Titicaca and is a series of a main island and three small ones.
Dr Capriles said: 'One indication that these boxes contain artifacts valuable enough for offerings, beside the gold foil, is the spondylus shell llama.
'The closest location where the Inca could obtain this spiny oyster shell was in warm coastal ocean waters off the coast of Ecuador.'