The site of Karecoto is located just a 10 minute walk from the community of Cosma. Cosma was established in 1714, and though much of the buildings were destroyed by the 1970’s earthquake, they were rebuilt in the traditional colonial style and layout. The town is arranged around the central plaza, and the patron saint of the community is San Lorenzo. About 400 people call Cosma home, 60 of those are children. Though there is no running water or latrines, the community received electricity about 10 years ago. The community is primarily Spanish speaking, though a large percentage of people still also speak Quechua. Primary subsistence is farming, and they are known for their dairy cows, and their queso fresco.
An auxiliary road is currently the only access to Cosma. There is currently no public transportation to the community, and it is a 5 hour walk to Jimbe to hitch a bus ride down to Chimbote (the closest city). Additionally you could walk across the ridge line several hours to Pamparomas, and catch a bus to the city of Caraz in the Cajellon de Huaylas, or Chimbote, down on the coast.
Several prehistoric sites are located within and around the community of Cosma. The first of these is Karecoto, a large (255 meters long by 65 meters wide) formative ceremonial mound center which reaches approximately 25 meters high. Karecoto is encircled by a canal, and includes a tunnel or possible “gallery” running through the higher portion of the mound. Additionally, a carved lintel stone, and several chullpas (above ground tombs) were recorded nearby.
Across the quebrada just a half kilometer from Karecoto is a smaller platform mound known as Ashipucoto. The modern day soccer field has been built into the side of Ashipucoto. Ashipucoto measures 40 x 33 meters, and 10 meters tall. Located on the ridgetop overlooking Ashipucoto and Karecoto respectively, is the residential component of the site. This area, known by the locals as “Kunka” or the Quechua term for “Neck,” includes several walls, carved stones, lintels, and enclosed structures. Additionally, a third platform mound, is located within the “residential” sector of the site. The focus of the 2014 field season will be to map and conduct test excavations within Karecoto, Ashipucoto, and Kunka.
Two more sites should be mentioned in the Cosma area. The first is the fortress of Iglesia Hirca. Located on a high ridge top overlooking Karecoto/Cosma, Pamparomas, and the Moro pocket of the Nepeña Valley. This site dates to approximately (900-1 BCE), and has impressive cut stones and large lintels.
Finally, on the same ridgetop, but further up than Kunka is the site of Caja Rumi, which shows an Inca period presence due to the beautifully cut stones and boulders found at the site.