Guatemalan and Peruvian archaeologists have discovered remains of a major ancient Mayan city in Guatemala near the Mexican border, the leader of the expedition said Tuesday.

Federico Kauffann Doigin, head of the Guatemalan-Peruvian archaeological team, told reporters that remains of the Maya city were found on the shores of El Tigre lagoon in the northern state of El Peten, 225 miles north of Guatemala City and 10 miles south of the Mexican border."We found 16 architectural complexes of the Mayan era," Kauffann said. "This is the first time in 500 years that such an expedition has been made to try to find out similarities between ancient Maya and Inca cultures."

He said the archaeological mission in the El Tigre was conducted over four weeks.

Kauffann, who belongs to the Amazonic Archaeological Institute of Peru, said the vast area surrounding El Tigre lagoon was "the center of an important civilization of which the newly discovered 16 archeological complexes are evidence."

"In the mounds, we discovered abundant ceramic materials, which we suppose were produced by Mayans at different stages, probably after the late pre-classic period of this culture" which existed before Christ, Kauffann said.

Kauffann urged the Guatemalan government to preserve the archaeological sites.