Beyond Monumentality: Looking Past the Pyramids of Cochasquí, Ecuador

Author(s): Ryan Hechler

Year: 2017


The northern highland Ecuadorian site of Cochasquí is one of the country’s most respected archaeological resources. Investigations by archaeologists Jacinto Jijón y Caamaño (1910s), Max Uhle (1932), and Udo Oberem (1964-65) had principally focused on this Late Period site’s highly visible quadrangular earthen pyramids, which can reach heights of approximately 20 meters. The archaeological and public fascination with the visibly monumental has long diverted attention away from between and beyond the pyramids. To ameliorate this research deficiency, the Proyecto Arqueológico Cochasquí-Mojanda was established in the summer of 2016. Long prior to the 1979 creation of a provincial government-administered park to protect the site’s pyramids, the earliest archaeological mentions of Cochasquí were about ceramics looted from the site area in the 19th century. With the introduction of controlled archaeological investigations, ceramics recovered from the site and surrounding area have demonstrated a regionally diverse political economy, with pottery having origins from the Ecuadorian montañas, Amazon, southern Colombian highlands, and even Inka ceramics as well as Inka-influenced ceramics. Additionally, examples of allochthonous obsidian artifacts have been recovered. Aside from such material, recent research has discovered unique spaces in between and just beyond the pyramids that challenges the previously perceived nature of the site.

Cite this Record

Beyond Monumentality: Looking Past the Pyramids of Cochasquí, Ecuador. Ryan Hechler. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 431340)

Spatial Coverage

min long: -93.691; min lat: -56.945 ; max long: -31.113; max lat: 18.48 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 16684