Sites & cities that bear the name of Cochasquí


Today in : Ecuador
First trace of activity : 950 C.E
Last trace of activity : 1530 C.E

Description : Cochasquí is the "most extensive and most important complex" of pre-Columbian and pre-Inca Empire ruins in northern Ecuador. The site lies some 30 kilometres (19 mi) in straight-line distance northeast of Quito in Pedro Moncayo Canton in Pichincha Province at 3,040 metres (9,970 ft) above sea level. The pyramids and other features of Cochasqui were constructed between 950 CE and the Spanish conquest in the 1530s. Their construction is attributed by archaeologists to the Quitu-Cara culture of the Cara people and/or the Caranqui people. The Cara and the Caranqui may have been the same people. Prior to the Inca conquest in the late 15th century, the Andes area of northern Ecuador seems to have been divided into many chiefdoms or statelets made up of people with similar languages and cultures. The Cayambe chiefdom may have controlled the Cochasqui area when the Incas arrived. The 15 pyramids at Cochasqui include nine with ramps and six without ramps. The largest pyramid is number nine which is 90 metres (300 ft) north to south and 80 metres (260 ft) east to west. It is 21 metres (69 ft) high. The ramp leading to the pyramid is 200 metres (660 ft) long. The primary construction material used in the pyramids is a soft volcanic stone called cangahua. Vulnerable to weathering and erosion the pyramids have survived because they were overgrown with grass. Archaeologists have theorized that Cochasqui was a ceremonial and astronomical center, used for meteorological purposes to calculate solstices and aid in determining when crops should be planted. Leaders and the elite may have lived on the flat-topped pyramids and the site may have had military and political importance. The tolas were used as burial mounds as many skeletons have been discovered there. Archaeologists estimate that the pre-Columbian community of Cochasqui, including the intensely-cultivated farmland surrounding the pyramids and tolas, supported a population of 3,000 people.

See on map »