On Dangerous Ground: Documenting the Undocumented Migration Project 2009-2014

Author(s): Jason De León

Year: 2015


Started in 2009, the Undocumented Migration Project (UMP) developed out of an attempt to couple archaeological data on what border crossers left in the Arizona desert with ethnographic data collected at migrant shelters in Northern Mexico. The initial goal was to understand the informal economy that structured human smuggling and the various technologies of survival and subterfuge that people employed while crossing the Sonoran Desert. Since 2009, the project’s scope has significantly expanded to focus on a wide range of topics including the various forms of violence experienced in the desert, the role of non-humans in border enforcement, and what the types of deaths migrants experience can tell us about notions of citizenship and sovereignty. In this paper I briefly trace the intellectual history of the UMP, discuss its relationship and contribution to the fields of ethnography, forensic science, and archaeology of the contemporary, and discuss the project’s future directions.    

Cite this Record

On Dangerous Ground: Documenting the Undocumented Migration Project 2009-2014. Jason De León. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Seattle, Washington. 2015 ( tDAR id: 433790)

Spatial Coverage

min long: -129.199; min lat: 24.495 ; max long: -66.973; max lat: 49.359 ;

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 87