Since the mid-1990’s, hundreds of thousands of undocumented migrants from Mexico and beyond have been entering the United States on foot through Arizona. Migrants will often walk for several days across the harsh Sonora Desert to reach places such as Tucson. People typically carry backpacks loaded with food, clothing, and other provisions and along the way they rest (and often discard these goods) at temporary campsites known as “migrant stations”. Hundreds of migrant stations have been identified in southern Arizona. Using traditional archaeological analytical methods and ethnography, this project examines migrant material culture to understand many aspects of this clandestine cultural phenomenon.
Dr. Jason De León (firstname.lastname@example.org) is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Michigan. He has conducted archaeological and ethnographic research in Mexico and the American southwest since 2001 and he specializes in migration and material culture.
Dr. Cameron Gokee (email@example.com) is a Research Associate in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Michigan. He has conducted archaeological and material culture research in the United States and in West Africa where he specializes in the study of village communities, political landscapes, and globalization.
Tuition & Program Fee:
$4,000 Total Field School Costs: $4,500
All fees are payable to the Institute for Field Research. Eight semester credit units are provided through Connecticut College. Program fee includes registration, accommodations, program activities, and meals on workdays.
You are responsible for your health insurance. Airfare, weekend meals, and optional excursions are additional.
Please inquire about Financial Aid at your home institution. For details about the financial aid application process, please visit the Financial Aid section of this web site.
How much to budget depends on your travel, entertainment and souvenir choices. It is always best to overestimate your spending. We recommend that you budget accordingly to cover optional sightseeing, laundry, internet cafes, emergencies, etc.
Expenses NOT Covered:
-Airfare to/from the pre-designated meeting place for the field school.
-Food on weekends when away from the site.
-Sightseeing outside formal field school excursions as outlined on the syllabus.
Students will camp in tents for five weeks at a permanent camp site near the town of Arivaca. Porta-johns and outdoor showers will be provided for students. Meals will be eaten at camp, the laboratory field house, and occasionally at a restaurant in Arivaca.
All meals will be communal events and will provide plenty of nutritious but basic food in the tradition of local cuisine. Specialized diets (vegan, kosher, etc.) are difficult to maintain in this location. Vegetarian options are always available with each meal.
Please let us know when you apply for this program if you have special dietary needs, as well as any medical or physical conditions. We will advise you accordingly. The project is used to catering for vegetarians, those with gluten intolerance etc.
You are responsible for making your own travel arrangements. Students should plan to arrive in Tucson by June 15 or the 16. Whether traveling by plane, bus, or shuttle from the Phoenix airport (www.arizonashuttle.com), students should contact field school staff with their cell phone number and place/day/time of arrival in Tucson at least one week prior to the start of the field school. Upon arrival, all students will be met at their destination in Tucson by project staff – curbside pick-up outside the airport terminal, bus station, or shuttle service. Those students driving to Arivaca should contact staff about the address and directions to our camping facilities.
All students should have a valid US passport .
For specific information regarding travel health issues pertinent to the US, please read the Centers for Disease Control Website. Click here to be directed to the CDC website.
“The Undocumented Migration Project initially caught my attention due to my interest in contemporary archaeology, and I signed up in hopes of learning field methodologies. The educational experience that followed was invaluable—I was even given the opportunity to conduct my own research project. Further, and more importantly, I saw firsthand the potential of archaeology to enact social justice. The human experience of hope and suffering along the US/Mexico Border is continually buried under political posturing. Yet through recording and preserving the material culture left behind by undocumented migrants on their desert journey, we may illuminate the stories behind the politics.”
-Justine Auben Drummond, University of Victoria (2012)
"Despite not having a background in archaeology before attending this field school, I had an unforgettable experience. The staff taught us everything we needed to know to successfully conduct research in the field, and it was fun to learn it all through a hands-on experience. When it came to our individual projects, they put great effort into helping us design them around our specific interests. In this way, I was able to combine my interest in immigration with my love for interviews, and ended up conducting a mini-oral history project on the people of Arivaca, AZ and their views on undocumented migration. The stories they shared opened my eyes to the long and rich history of the borderlands, and especially to the ways in which increased border enforcement has impacted this community."
-Chloe Bergsma-Safar, University of Michigan (2012)
“Growing up, I heard about border crossings from friends and family, but this field research program provided a chance to study the process first hand. As challenging as it was, participating in this field research program was an extremely positive experience. Studying the sites and artifacts of human migration between the US-Mexico border, coupled with immigration related field trips, not only humanized the process of crossing the border, but it provided information about the increasingly life threatening journey faced by migrants.”
-Mario Castillo, California State University Dominguez Hills (2012)
“It was one of the best learning experiences I could have asked for. We worked really hard, but we still had a ton of fun. There were some pretty intense moments, just because of the subject matter, but I feel like I left Arivaca with a much better perspective. I still can't believe I spent 5 weeks sleeping in a tent, and hiking in the desert, and enjoyed every second. I also formed life-long bonds with some of the other students”
-Hilary Payne, University of Washington (2010)