The friezes, recorded at the beginning of the XXth century, are high-relief polychrome images of a clear Moche style; from their style and stratigraphic position, they correspond to the earlier stages of Huaca Cortada. The designs rendered on these
walls are diagonal stripes with depictions of the Peruvian catfish (Trichomycterus sp.)with alternating colors. These mural figures and their configuration are recurrent in the early stages of Huaca Cao Viejo, specifically in the southernmost part of the Ray and Manta Ray Patio, and in the in the Enclosure-Mausoleum of the Lady of Cao.
All these evidences tell us that Huaca Cortada and Huaca Cao Viejo are, in sum, mutually-contemporary edifices, as far as the evidence allows us to understand, and that the functioning of both was probably complementary regarding political, religious
and even economic activities during the Moche epoch.
The works conducted by the Wiese Foundation, based on the exposed profiles of Huaca Cortada, as well as the early evidences set out in this article, have allowed us to identify the serious state of conservation of the monument. The outermost constructive stage is seriously damaged by the breeze and the salinity from the sea, which is a few meters away; the carved gashes, evidently, have not only destroyed the later part, but it has also penetrated into the earlier stages of the edifice, allowing the humidity to enter and affect the deepest part of the edifice and, thus, affecting its structural stability. Considering the great potential for information and knowledge that it contains, unveiling the secrets of Huaca Cortada implies intervening in it in an integral manner: a great effort that involves a sustained conservation project that goes hand in hand with scientific research, as well as later and permanent maintenance, monitoring and valorization works.
Figura 1. Vista de uno de los frisos registrados en el corte de la Huaca Cortada. Fotografía tomada por Samuel L. Lothrop (Peabody Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology at Harvard University).
Figura 2. Dibujo de uno de los frisos documentado en Huaca Cortada. Archivo CAEB / Fundación Wiese.