Ruins may be first Roman Catholic church in Peru

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LIMA, Peru (AP) — Archaeologists say they’ve discovered the ruins of what is believed to be Peru’s oldest Roman Catholic church.

Archaeologist Cesar Astuhuaman says the church outside the northern coastal city of Piura was built in 1534 but its mud walls deteriorated over time as Spanish conquistadors abandoned the area.

Scientists say historical documents discovered in an archive in Sevilla, Spain, helped them find the ruins, whose rectangular stone perimeter remains intact along with an altar.

Piura was the first city established in Peru by adventurers led by Francisco Pizarro.

Archaeologist Ines del Aguila of Lima’s Catholic University says it’s an important contribution to Peruvian history. She wasn’t involved in the dig.