This temple was made by the Moche, ancestors of the Chimu Empire, but they didn't worship the moon like the Chimor were supposed to have done. The Moche temple was misnamed based on the Central American ruins where there was often a bigger pyramid for the sun and a smaller one for the moon.
This pretty fellow was the Moches' god Ai Apaec:
The Beheader God, as our guide so charmingly named him. The Moche practiced human sacrifice to ensure the fertility of their valley.
With time, the temple got bigger and bigger at its base as the people built more and more levels. Row upon row of adobe bricks were placed over the previous facade to receive a larger load on top. Archaeologists have excavated the original walls, where the pigments survived.
According to our guide, the workers don't restore the paints; they just fix them with a clear sealant so they won't deteriorate further now that they've been re-exposed to air and sun. Nor are they repairing the bas-reliefs, just bringing them to light:
After our visit, we had to rush back to town for C and M to catch their bus. Luckily, there was a collectivo (bus-taxi) waiting in the temple parking lot. A much better bargain than a private taxi:
E, J, and I walked around Trujillo's city center and ate guinea pig and a kind of red corn pudding while waiting for our late-night buses...
Next up: Cuzco.