Sites of Contention
Archaeological Classification and Political Discourse in the US-Mexico Borderlands
Keywords:undocumented migration, archaeological praxis, site classification
Recognizing that archaeologies of the contemporary past are inherently political, this paper examines the ways in which the definition and classification of sites plays into archaeological praxis in the US-Mexico borderlands of southern Arizona. Fundamentally, our classification of contemporary archaeological sites seeks to organize spatial and material data collected by the Undocumented Migration Project (UMP) as a methodological step in creating knowledge about processes and experiences of undocumented migration across the Sonoran Desert. At the same time, we acknowledge that our classification exists within a highly contentious field of political discourse surrounding Latin American immigration into the United States. Insofar as naming and describing diverse types of sites helps to shape the objects of this discourse, we suggest that classification may further aid critique and political action.
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