Thatcher Rogers, UNM Ph.D. student in Archaeology, will receive the Friends of Coronado Historic Site scholarship this spring, a local scholarship that funds research along the Middle Rio Grande. Thatcher also received a National Science Foundation (NSF) subsidy grant from the MURR (University of Missouri Research Reactor) Archaeometry Laboratory, which will support his dissertation research.


Rogers’ research asks the question: How do societies living on the edges of more complexly organized groups engage with the material culture of these groups and, by extension, with the groups themselves?

Around the globe, the expansion of complex societies into adjacent areas has resulted in substantial, long-term impacts through processes such as colonization and globalization. Previous research has explored these processes through a focus on how cultural cores engage with adjacent areas. Yet, choices by inhabitants within these peripheral areas on how to interact with one or more cultural cores may provide key insights into identity formation in borderland regions.

This NSF subsidy award enables the geochemical analysis of over 500 ceramic shards from sites in southeastern Arizona, southwestern New Mexico, northeastern Sonora, and northwestern Chihuahua; thereby, bridging the contemporary US-Mexico Border.

This project contributes to ongoing discussions of the relationship between social identity and cultural heritage in borderland areas by investigating how former borderland communities engaged materially with cultural cores. Additionally, this project improves narratives for the ancient American Southwest/Mexican Northwest region by connecting processes along and south of the US-Mexico Border to concurrent and better-studied regions of the Southwest.

The Archaeometry Laboratory at the MURR is an NSF grant-funded laboratory to which archaeologists can submit appropriate archaeological specimens for chemical characterization. Analytical techniques possible are neutron activation analysis (NAA), X-ray fluorescence (XRF), or inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (ICP-MS). These techniques are frequently used for provenance research in archaeology. The individual techniques have their own advantages and disadvantages for application to specific matrices and archaeological problems.

The objectives of the Archaeometry Lab's support program are to increase the availability of these analytical methods to archaeologists who would normally be unable to afford this assistance and to encourage increased collaboration between archaeologists and analytical chemists.