Professor of Anthropology Wirt (Chip) Wills says the problems that were created when the Anthropology Annex was flooded with sewage at the beginning of the semester is costing his students valuable laboratory time.  During this part of the semester Wills' students in Anthropology 375/575 should be learning advanced laboratory techniques.  But the tools are stacked on tables throughout the building while the basement is being dried out so repairs can begin.

The flood was an accident, created when new construction that was in progress at the Math and Sciences building next door allowed sewage to back up into the Anthropology Annex basement; but for the students and professors who normally work in the basement, the sewage backup and cleanup is causing problems.

The students will spend October and part of November in Chaco Canyon excavating, but Wills says they won't have all the background they need.  In this class students learn to formulate research questions, how to structure research to explore the questions, and how to analyze the research they have done.

Distinguished Professor of Anthropology Patricia Crown has a ceramics laboratory in the Anthropology Annex basement.  Her lab has been temporarily dismantled and cannot be reassembled until repair work in the basement is complete.  Her work on an NSF grant has been delayed and she may lose half a semester in research time.

In addition, several grad students who had offices in the basement have been moved, and another lab used for ethno-botany has been dismantled and can't be reassembled until repair of the basement is complete.

Slide show of Anthropology Annex Basement.

Current estimates for when the basement can be reoccupied will depend on tests that determine whether there needs to be some replacement of wallboard.  That should occur within the next few days.

Media contact: Karen Wentworth (505) 277-5627; e-mail: