What stories do discarded backpacks, water bottles and cheap sneakers tell? A lot, when they mark the path of undocumented migrants along the Arizona-Sonora border, says Jason De León an anthropologist at the University of Michigan.

De León, who directs the Undocumented Migration Project, uses ethnography and contemporary archaeology to better understand clandestine crossings along the Arizona-Sonora border. He will share his observations during a free public lecture at 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 17, in the Wettaw Auditorium at NAU.

In the last three years, De León and his students have studied about a hundred different sites used by migrants walking north across southern Arizona. They map sites and record the discarded objects they find. And those artifacts, in turn, help De León gain a better picture of what’s really happening as people cross the international border.

De León’s presentation is part of the New Horizons in Science Briefing, a national gathering of science journalists that is being hosted by NAU. For information, email Peter.Friederici@nau.edu or call (928) 523-6378.