It is located , 60 km.to the north of Trujillo, in the Chicama Valley, Magdalena de Cao,in front of the sea. This place along with Huaca Cortada and Huaca Prieta make up the Archeological Complex “El Brujo”.
The Archeological research started in 1990,sponsored by Banco Wiese. Huaca Cao Viejo was built by the Moche culture, about I century A.D. and was abandoned in 600 A.D. before the El Niño phenomenon.
The architecture is similar to Huaca de la Luna, there are seven superposed temples, as consequence of the interment of the older structures. Possibly that action would have occurred when there were disasters, such as: strong rain or earthquakes.
During the last occupation the temple measured 30m. high and 120m. per side in its base.In front of the temple there is a large square(140m. by 75m.)orientated to the north. From here, you can see the façade where the archaelogists discovered the first evidences of decoration in color. The reliefs depict different designs, such as: nude prisoners with ropes on their necks, dancers, warriors, and The Decapitador taking a human head.
In the interior of the temple the excavations have allowed to uncover ceremonial patios that have exceptionally preserved their color intact.
Same as Huaca de la Luna, the priests were buried inside each temple. The archaelogists discovered the tomb of an important character that was buried with 15 people, amongst them 11 women. Unfortunately the tomb had been looted, and it was not possible to find the bodies or the main offerings.
After the abandonment of the Moche the temple did not lose its ceremonial function. The Lambayeque culture used the principal square as a cemetery. Several momies from this time have been discovered buried in fetal position. When the Spaniards arrived there was a numerous population in the site so Dominiques priests decided to build a Catholic church over the ancient square, its debris have survived until now.
One of the most important discoveries in the Peru was the discovery of the tomb of the Lady of Cao, woman who governed the moche society in the Chicama valley at the same time of the Lord of Sipan. The extraordinary of this discovery was to find her body intact as well as her skin, being the arms tattooed with designs of snakes and spiders. The mummy and the ornaments are in exhibition in the Site Museum.
HUACA PARTIDA OR CORTADA
Its located in front to Huaca Cao, this construction is much smaller and is not excavated. However, is possible to suposse that had an administrative function during the Moche times. Some designes of fishes were discovered but now is all covered.
This site was studied by Junius Bird in 1946, who discovered here the first scientific evidences of Pre-ceramic people. Before that, Chavin culture was considered the oldest culture in Peru. However, Huaca Prieta is older, 2 500 B.C. These people were fishermen and hunters with simple agriculture.