Conserving Ancient History
At the Moche site of El Brujo a conservator cleans a 1,600-year-old relief on the walls of the Huaca Cao Viejo pyramid. This relief portrays warriors who may be engaged in ritual combat. Periodically, new levels were added to the structure, often burying important people inside older sections before erecting new chambers on top. In the process, rooms like this were filled with bricks, which ultimately protected the art and its vivid pigments from later floods and decay. “It’s as if they were incorporating their rulers back into the pyramid,” says archaeologist and National Geographic grantee Jeffrey Quilter.
- Ira Block/National Geographic Creative