Cochasquí in Context: The Evolution of a Monumental Center

Author(s): David Brown

Year: 2017


Recent investigations suggest that the history of the northern Ecuadorian mound group at Cochasquí was complex and that the perception of the site as a single, mostly unchanging monumental center is simplistic at best. Begun by AD1000, the earliest constructions within the complex were modest rounded mounds, several containing burials. By AD1250, much larger, ramped square mounds signaled a major shift in site function possibly associated with the eruption of Quilotoa volcano, 125 km to the southwest. Expanded soon after the devastating eruption and occupied during a subsequent widespread drought, the new, larger pyramids were topped by round temple buildings that might have included water-related rituals. Decades of excavations have failed to find evidence of a significant population near the site and Cochasquí may have been an extra-regional pilgrimage center, at least after AD1250. The Inka, who arrived sometime around 1500, did not destroy the site as once thought, but refurbished several pyramids within the fully functioning center, as they did at Pachacamac and Tucumé on the coast of Perú. Modern myths surrounding Cochasquí have obscured the Inka presence and little is known of the site’s role in the Inka conquest and ultimate domination of northern Ecuador.

Cite this Record

Cochasquí in Context: The Evolution of a Monumental Center. David Brown. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 431342)


Geographic Keywords
South America

Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 17246