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At once both monumental and obscure, it stands within a visually serene yet ruggedly remote setting. Named after its nearby namesake village of Cosma, nestled in the upper Nepeña Valley of central Peru, it is a relatively unexplored complex that includes three human-made mounds thought by archaeologists to be nearly 3,000 years old. During the summer of 2014, it will become a destination for a small team of archaeologists and students who will, for the first time, begin serious archaeological excavations at the site.
On the way to Cosma with some of her archaeological crew to investigate the tip, one site in particular caught Munro’s eye. “There is no public transport up the mountain to the town of Cosma, so we had to hitch a ride with the delivery truck that goes up once a week with the community’s supplies,” she said. “We were riding up on the top of the truck and when it took that last bend in the road before Cosma, I caught a glimpse of Karecoto [the local name of a large mound] for the first time – and honestly couldn’t believe what I was seeing. I knew it wasn’t natural, or Inca, and its massive size and composition was reminiscent of [ancient Peruvian] highland centers. Even though we were in the upper reaches of the coastal valley, we were still in a coastal valley, and this was something different from what we had seen throughout the rest of Nepeña.”