Fodor's Expert Review El Brujo

Magdalena de Cao Ruins Fodor's Choice

This intriguing complex is currently one of the hot properties on the Peruvian archaeological circuit. Plopped down in a barren dune about 6 km (4 miles) from Magdalena, it consists of three distinct huacas, or holy sites: Huaca Cao, Huaca Prieta, and Huaca Cortada. Huaca Cao is the star: in 2006, it was the site of the electrifying discovery of the Lady of Cao, a 1,600-year-old mummy whose tattoos marked her as a Moche priestess or ruler. The finding was immediately compared with that of King Tut's tomb in Egypt, as it completely turned notions of power in pre-Columbian Peru upside down. Equally impressive is the huaca's pyramid itself, where the multicolored friezes of warriors and human sacrifices give a powerful idea of the Moches' artistic skill. The excellent on-site museum is among the most informative of its kind. The other two huacas are still undergoing excavation, but the entrance fee covers all three. The site is well worth the trip from Trujillo.

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Magdalena de Cao, La Libertad  Peru


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