A newly uncovered pyramid structure in central Peru could upend the way researchers have thought of the area regarding its importance in Incan hierarchy.

After a year of investigation, researchers say they believe the structure is what is known as an "ushnu."

Ushnus are terraced pyramid structures researchers believe were used by ancient local rulers during some of their most significant ceremonies in which they drank and gave liquid offerings to the gods.
 Research indicates they also may have been used for astrological observations, though much is still to be learned about these structures.

The discovery of an ushnu in the Callejon de Huaylas valley about 285 kilometers (175 miles) north of Lima could mean the area carried more weight in Incan society than previously thought.

Previously, the site was thought to be naturally elevated and not a pyramid given that it was covered in thick vegetation.

Researchers believe local traditions were blended with those of the Inca and that the ushnu might have served as the centre of a provincial capital here.

However, it remains unclear whether the ushnu was built before or after the arrival of the Inca.

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