(CNN)Extensive water channels built by indigenous Australians thousands of years ago to trap and harvest eels for food have been revealed after wildfires burned away thick vegetation in the state of Victoria.
An ancient aquatic system older than the pyramids has been revealed by the Australian bushfires
The Budj Bim Cultural Landscape, consisting of channels, weirs and dams built from volcanic rocks, is one of the world's most extensive and oldest aquaculture systems, according to UNESCO. Constructed by the Gunditjmara people more than 6,600 years ago, it is older than Egypt's pyramids.
While the aquatic system was known to archaeologists -- it was added to UNESCO's World Heritage List last July -- additional sections were revealed by the fires that have ripped through the state in December.
Gunditjmara representative Denis Rose, project manager at non-profit group Gunditj Mirring Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation, told CNN that the system was significantly bigger than what was previously recorded.
"When we returned to the area, we found a channel hidden in the grass and other vegetation. It was about 25 meters (82 feet) in length, which was a fairly substantial size," Rose said.
He said other new structures resembling channels and ponds were now visible in the burnt landscape. "It was a surprise continually finding new ones that the fires revealed," he added.
According to the Aboriginal Corporation's website, the aquaculture system -- which is part of the Budj Bim National Park -- it was built by the indigenous population using the abundant volcanic rocks from a now-dormant volcano in the area.
UNESCO said Gunditjmara people used the system to redirect and modify waterways to maximize aquaculture yield.
"The Budj Bim Cultural Landscape bears an exceptional testimony to the cultural traditions, knowledge, practices and ingenuity of the Gunditjmara," it said.
The fire near the national park was caused by a lightning strike in late December, which eventually spread to some 790 hectares (3 square miles) in size, said Mark Mellington, district manager for Forest Fire M