Huaca Cao Viejo
From above, Huaca Cao Viejo reveals little of its former splendor. What is now a mound destroyed by centuries of flooding was once a grand cathedral during the Moche era. Unfortunately, the looming presence of the Moche Decapitator god was not enough to ward off looters, who have picked over the landscape. When Peruvian archaeologist Régulo Franco first saw the ruins of El Brujo in 1990, he was disheartened at the hundreds of looter holes. “It looked like the moon,” he said. Fortunately, Franco and others have been able to protect the site after carefully excavating rooms decorated with enchanting wall art.
- Ira Block/National Geographic Creative