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Release Date: 05/04/12
Contacts: Michael Williams, BLM Anasazi Heritage Center, (970) 882-5600    

Immigration is Old News: Expert Traces Ancient Southwest Exodus (05-04-12)

Dolores, Colo. -– Archaeologist Jeffery Clark has been tracing an ancient migration. When immigrants swarm an established neighborhood, the effect is both disruptive and enriching. That’s what happened over seven hundred years ago when thousands of people left homes in northeastern Arizona, loaded their backpacks, and trekked south into a foreign country.

Clark will share his discoveries at the Anasazi Heritage Center on Sunday, May 13 at 1:00 p.m. in a presentation called “The Kayenta: A Powerful Immigrant Minority in the Hohokam World.”

Clark’s talk complements the museum’s special exhibit Pieces of the Puzzle: New Perspectives on the Hohokam. Admission to the entire museum will be free all day.

The Hohokam people were early farmers in the Phoenix and Tucson basins. They dug irrigation canals, made the first pottery in the Southwest, etched designs on bracelets cut from imported shell, burned incense in carved stone bowls, and played a Mexican-style ball game.

Sometime in the late 1200s, a new people arrived who maintained old customs and built distinctive enclaves, a community in diaspora. Over time, both conflict and cooperation led to a complicated cultural pattern that archaeologists call Salado.

Jeffery Clark is a preservation archaeologist with Archaeology Southwest, a nonprofit research foundation in Tucson, Arizona.

“Preservation archaeology,” according to Clark, “is a conservation-based and low-impact approach to big-picture questions. We create meaningful connections to the past by protecting sites and sharing our findings with the public.”

This event is part of the Four Corners Lecture Series, which is jointly sponsored by the Bureau of Land Management, the National Park Service, Fort Lewis College, the Cortez Cultural Center, Crow Canyon Archaeological Center, and KSJD Public Radio. Lectures and events take place in variety of locations throughout the area, and all events are free.

The Anasazi Heritage Center, three miles west of Dolores on Highway 184, is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information visit the museum’s web site at

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land, the most of any Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM's mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. In Fiscal Year 2015, the BLM generated $4.1 billion in receipts from activities occurring on public lands.

  27501 Highway 184      Dolores, CO 81323  

Last updated: 05-04-2012