From Ecuador – Cochasquí-Mojanda:
Atop the large, earthen pyramids at the monumental center of Cochasquí (founded AD 1000) stood large circular buildings, each with similar internal features and design. Our investigations suggest they were ritual structures – gathering places for feasting or religious observances. We hypothesize that the pyramids were constructed in stages, each of which may have featured ceremonial structures on their upper platform surfaces.
The find of the 2018 season occurred while working on the profile of a deep looter’s trench on the west side of Pyramid G, the largest at the site. On the last day of the 2018 excavations, project co-director Will Pratt was documenting an unusual dark midden soil layer more than 4 meters below the pyramid’s surface, when a line of rocks appeared below the layer. It was the top of a meter-wide fragment of retaining wall made of cut blocks of an indurated volcanic ash, a common local construction material. The deep west trench profile had already revealed two intentionally prepared clay floors buried at about 2.3 and 3.6 meters below the pyramid’s top. At 5 meters depth within the fill of Pyramid G, the retaining wall, the overlying midden and the various prepared floor levels above add strong support to our initial hypothesis that the pyramids may have had a much more complex history than previously understood. We suspect the wall is part of a ritual structure given its location.