/ Explores the Complex / Main Monuments

Huaca Cao Viejo

Huaca Cao Viejo, is the main Moche shrine complex. The building made with thousands of adobe blocks, dates back to the first centuries AD, and was in use until approximately the 9th century.

The complex’s architectural features are as follows: the main building (with a decorated façade and, on the upper level, a ceremonial courtyard surrounded by enclosures and a main platform), the ceremonial plaza (located next to the main building), and annexes on the ceremonial square’s eastern and western sides.

Huaca Prieta

In Huaca Prieta, five thousand years ago fishermen and shellfish pickers complemented a marine economy extractive character with new experiences linked to the domestication of plants.

These early agricultural experiments boosted the development of ancient Huaca Prieta fishing industry. The domestication of cotton, for example, allowed them to refine and strengthen networks and fishing twines; pumpkin served as flotation element for networks. Their food, based on fish, crab, sea urchin and other extracted mollusks, supplemented thereafter with new crops such as chili, lima beans and Chira. Thus Huaca Prieta marked the emergence of an economy and a cosmology based on water (sea and river). The first images produced by its inhabitants combined value of sea with mountain crabs and seabirds, along with condors and snakes. Presumably they were among the first manifestations of a way of seeing and appropriating the landscape.

Huaca Cortada

This is the second most important building in the El Brujo Archaeological Complex. It is a truncated pyramid with a terraced profile built with adobe bricks during the Moche era (100 – 800 A.D.) and concomitant with the period of the Huaca Cao Viejo. It is 103 meters long by 98 meters wide and 22 meters tall.  It is located in the northwest sector some 500 meters from the Cao Viejo pyramid, occupying an approximate area of 10,000 square meters (Franco, Gálvez and Murga 2002). It carries the name Huaca Cortada because there is a long, wide and deep cut (45 meters long by 5 meters wide) on the center of its southern outer face that almost divides it into two parts. This cut was made at some undetermined time after the Spanish conquest of Peru (16th century) by looters allegedly hunting for treasure inside.

Pozo Ceremonial

This well was found in 2004. The Moche built it 1500 years ago. The original entrance had the shape of an ocean wave looking to the south of the complex. It is 7 m. in diameter and almost 9 m. deep when it hits a source of fresh water in the phreatic layer.

During our archaeological excavations we unearthed several burials inside a simple adobe chamber, located on the top and to the west of the well. Apparently, these burials were done after the well was abandoned and may be due to the El Nino phenomenon. Today, a healer from Magdalena de Cao uses the well to perform cleaning, re-birthing and purification ceremonies. The purpose of these rituals is to allow you to explore the depths of magical thinking. In this ceremony, the healer takes you to Pachamama’s belly, into the heart of Mother Earth.

La Tienda

Take home a souvenir of the Moche Culture. Enter here