The north of Peru contains the country’s most impressive archaeological sites. A trip up north, then, promises culture, but also beaches, nature and excellent food. The Moche culture flourished in the Moche, Chicama and Viru valleys from the 3rd to the 8th Centuries A.D. They were the creators of the famous portrait ceramics called “huacos retratos” and they also built Huaca de la Luna and Huaca del Sol, with their outstanding friezes.
The 12th to the 15th Centuries A.D. was the era of the Chimu culture, extraordinary gold and silver smiths and farmers. They built extensive irrigation networks and their capital was the vast mud-brick city of Chan Chan, the largest of its kind in pre-Hispanic America and the second largest in the world. The Incas conquered this area only in the 14th Century.
Many ruins remain of these cultures apart from those already mentioned. The Lord of Sipan was discovered in the Huaca Rajada Archaeological Complex in Lambayeque, in 1987; the tomb of a priestess was also discovered at San Jose de Moro, Chepen and at the same time the El Brujo complex in Magdalena de Cao was investigated.
The Lady of Cao merits a special mention; a discovery comparable to that of the Lord of Sipan that changed our view of history, as it was thought that only men ruled in ancient Peru. The Lady of Cao may have been a governor in the theocratic society of the River Chicama valley. Her tomb was discovered in the Cao Viejo burial mound, part of the El Brujo complex in the district of Magdalena de Cao, 60 kilometres from Trujillo. There is a special gallery in which you can see her mummy and implements found in her tomb.
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