Archaeology of Immigration Project Overview

Our goal of this project is to address how have migrant journeys have greatly impacted contemporary archeology. We expanded our research to further include the dating techniques that were used on the bodies found of immigrants who have passed during their journeys. We were interested in this specific aspect of archeology because we wanted to strive for a greater understanding of immigration across borders since it is extremely relevant currently. Also, Alycia and I both studied this topic for our panel presentation so we wanted to dig even deeper into this current issue. It is crucial that we strive to humanize immigrants and shed light on the reality of the border because it is so often overlooked. We want to emphasize that the migrant stories and belongings hold great information regarding their journeys along with the rest of their archeological artifacts. In De Leon’s research, he “shines light on the inhumane and hypocritical way that we police our borders and show the devastating impact that our boundary enforcement system has on people’s lives” (Epilogue De Leon) which we strived to do as well.

Through our research, we found that one of the main concerns regarding current migrant issues is the governmental policies that were enacted in the past. For instance, the first significant law restricting immigration in the United States was the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. Here, the Chinese workers were blamed for declining wages and economic failures on the West Coast. This inevitably caused great discrimination aginst all Chinese migrants which makes their journey to immigrating to the United States much more difficult. With this knowledge, this undoubtedly impacted the research surrounding the rest of our project because we were able to put into perspective how much that impact has lasted until the modern-day. With Mexican migrants today, the prevention through deterrence policy continues to deter migrants to cross the border into the United States. 

At the beginning of developing our project, we came together to discuss what we thought were the most important impacts of migrant journeys on archeology. From our prior study of migrant journeys, integrating our research findings into our final Unessay project was fairly simple. Overall, we decided to create a main page covering the crucial overview of our research and having links of that to our research. By approaching it in this manner, we are able to utilize eye-catching photos, fonts, and colors to draw in the attention of an audience. We wanted to approach a sensitive topic in this format to hopefully keep our audience more engaged and intrigued in learning about an issue that affects so many lives today. 

There are so many essential takeaways from our project. However, one that will continue to make a lasting impact on me personally is how our government continues to approve policies to deter migrants from entering the “land of the free”. Also after viewing a high volume of photographs of migrant belongings from the trail through Jason De Leon’s study, I will never take for granted what I have now. Migrants are often wearing shoes that are not meant for a treacherous journey such as heeled boots and those migrants are often children.

Important Links

Final Unessay Project | Collective Journey by Jonathan Madison | Minnesota Immigrants | Extra Photos

Bibliography Staff. “Chinese Exclusion Act.” A&E Television Networks, August 24, 2018.

Leon, Jason De. “The Land of Open Graves: Living and Dying on the Migrant Trail.” Oakland: University of California Press, October 23, 2015.

UMP (2014). “Skeletonized human remains and worn-out shoes in Nogales–Sasabe corridor”. Photograph for Research Gate. Retrieved from

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