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.