U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIORBUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
Many rooms were probably plastered inside, and kiva walls were painted with bold geometric designs.
Initial excavations led by Paul Martin for the Field Museum in the 1930s revealed one kiva (Kiva B) with an exceptionally well-preserved mural, and the kiva was backfilled to preserve it. Before backfilling, a portion of the mural in Kiva B was shellacked.
The pueblo was reexcavated in 1974 in response to rising interest in opening it to the public. Upon reexcavation, the shellacked portion of the mural showed more sign of deterioration than the portion left alone. Shortly after being exposed to the elements, the mural deteriorated rapidly. Several attempts at stabilization exacerbated or failed to slow the process. None of it survives today, except for a salvaged fragment at the Anasazi Heritage Center.
This reflects a tension inherent in public archaeology between preservation and interpretation: one cannot both display and preserve fragile cultural resources in perpetuity. Current technology cannot preserve such murals in situ except by reburial. Other interventions are of limited effectiveness or risk exacerbating deterioration. Such cases are all the more reason to visit with respect.