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Augustus deCorbeau
Level 5: 666 points
Alltime Score: 3384 points
Last Logged In: July 18th, 2015
BADGE: INTERREGNUM TEAM: The Disorganised Guerilla War On Boredom and Normality TEAM: Society for the Superior Completion of Tasks TEAM: HB0 TEAM: Team Shplank TEAM: BMO TEAM: SØS Brigade TEAM: SFØ Société Photographique TEAM: ARKHAMZERO TEAM: SCIENCE! TEAM: Run-of-the-mill taskers TEAM: ABQ0 BART Psychogeographical Association Rank 3: Cartographer The University of Aesthematics Rank 2: Dealer Biome Rank 1: Hiker

20 + 70 points

Urbane Exploration 1 by Augustus deCorbeau

December 12th, 2008 2:19 AM / Location: 35.084648,-106.6251

INSTRUCTIONS: Find a building which is in active use. Explore it thoroughly and get to know its secrets.

Politely talking your way into the heart of the building is an excellent way to understand its psychogeography, and see how it affects those who occupy it. Your interactions with the building's owners and inhabitants (employees, residents, etc) are to be strictly positive; recruiting the authorities as guides is a far, far better thing than being ejected by them.

Completing this task in proper exploring attire, which may include such accoutrements as a waistcoat or a monocle, will likely result in additional votes.

The Hibben Center for Archaeological Research appears (from the outside) to be your normal sort of modern university classroom building.

The interior is comfortably spacious, with an open lounge area in the atrium, surrounded by classrooms and faculty offices.

The building was donated by Dr. Frank C. Hibben (1910-2002), archaeologist, adventurer, big game hunter, and philanthropist.

It contains a secret network of tunnels and rooms.
Deep below ground.

This carefully climate-controlled labyrinth is where the university stores its collection of archaeological artifacts.

With enough persistence and contacts, I was able to get in touch with one of the curators, who agreed to take a couple of us from the field school in to see the collection.

(In order to get access to this restricted area, I had to agree not to sell or publish any of the photos I took inside.  They are here for your entertainment -- please don't spread them outside sf0.  Thanks.)

This is where many of the artifacts from Chaco Canyon are preserved.

Some show signs of ancient use.

Many have bold black-on-white painted designs characteristic of the Chaco culture.

Not a square foot of space is wasted.  In order to get back to see a preserved mural, we had to scoot along the wall behind a rack of rugs.

It was a tight squeeze.  In fact, the mural had been forgotten about for many years, since no one ever went back that far!

There are also some amazingly detailed South American textiles.

Including a khipu!
These knotted strings were the written language of the Inca empire.  Only 600 or so survived the Spanish conquest.

This is all just a tiny sample of the tiny sample we got to see -- it's hard to convey the scale of what's down there! It was a pretty amazing way to finish up my stay in New Mexico.

+ larger


18 vote(s)



8 comment(s)

(no subject)
posted by Phishman on December 12th, 2008 5:26 AM

so cool! you brought me where I was never going to be! ...and also you have my same name :)

(no subject)
posted by Morte on December 12th, 2008 7:18 AM

I'm very jealous. Having grown up in New Mexico I've always wanted to get into the dark underbelly of the museums to see the things that the universities had from my tribes past, but I never had the connections.

Very very jealous. Grrmph.

(no subject)
posted by rongo rongo on December 12th, 2008 10:57 AM

Hmm. I wonder, there must be at least a few museum curators out there that would be willing to do a personal behind-the-scenes tour for a random person who was really interested.

(no subject) +1
posted by Augustus deCorbeau on December 13th, 2008 1:00 AM

I'm sure they would! I don't think they get many visitors in the bowels of the storage museum, so my guide was very enthusiastic about showing us around. "Oh! And you'll want to see this neat thing over here... *runs around the corner and starts rummaging through drawers*"
Several times he insisted that if we ever wanted to do an independent research project, we could have access to the original source material. I imagine that with a polite, convincing story and a fair bit of persistence, most places would let you take a peek at their collections. I've also found that museum curators like to give back-room tours to reporters/photographers from college newspapers. The trick is finding the one person who is: A. friendly, B. high enough up in the system to authorize it, and C. actually there. Generally, you can get 2 of the 3...

A lot of the stuff in storage probably never even gets looked at, once it's been cataloged and stabilized. One entire room, for instance, was filled with those cranking library shelves -- the ones where you only have one walkway, and have to push the shelves around to open the one you want. Each shelf was filled with boxes of broken pottery sherds. There could have been tens or hundreds of thousands of pottery bits there, all sealed away -- and they've probably been there since they were brought in. I mean, it's not like you can really do an exhibit of piles little ceramic fragments...

(no subject)
posted by susy derkins on December 13th, 2008 8:43 AM

How about an archaeological SFZero roadtrip, guys? Hey, or an Underground Exploration Roadtrip, including both archeology and forensics! And something else that I am not even remembering some of you do/have access to!
Awesome people meet, we get to read a great completion, drive is hopefully spread around, everyone is happy ... :)

The Big Red X -3
posted by SF0 Daemon on December 12th, 2008 12:24 PM

This proof has been flagged by 6 of your fellow players (for the benefit of all, flags are anonymous). As such, it has been automatically disapproved. Most likely, they've posted comments explaining why they're displeased. If you think you may be the victim of a bug, injustice, or a gang of Rubins, hit up the contact page.

(no subject)
posted by Augustus deCorbeau on December 12th, 2008 1:05 PM


(no subject)
posted by Mister Opinion on December 12th, 2008 6:37 PM

Coolio. Secret underbellies hide the neatest stuff. And museums are also Mad Interesting.