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Kelly Jenks

Kelly Jenks
Associate Professor
Regular Faculty

Contact Info
Breland Hall 305; Lab: Breland Hall 307

View CV
Expertise: Cultural Resource Management, Historical Archaeology, Archaeology, Anthropology


I am an archaeologist specializing in the American Southwest and Southern Plains. My research focuses on the material construction of social and political identities and the influence of interregional trade in New Mexico, especially between AD 1500 and the present. 

Current Research

My primary interest is in the material construction and evolution of social identities within contact zones. Much of my recent research has focused on group identities that formed during the Spanish colonial, Mexican, and early American periods in the Southwest.
One major focus of my research has been on the construction and expression of group identities within multiethnic colonial communities. I conducted fieldwork within the Spanish land grant community of San Miguel del Vado, New Mexico, established in the Upper Pecos River Valley on the eastern frontier of the New Mexico colony in 1794. My analysis of the use of space, architecture, and materials at this site focuses on the ways that residents used corporate practices and communal spaces to downplay ethnic differences and express a shared civic identity (vecindad) that distinguished them from their eastern neighbors and trade partners. I also explored archaeological evidence of Hispanic expansion and settlement in New Mexico in both earlier and later periods: at Los Ojitos, a homestead-era village in the Middle Pecos Valley occupied ca. 1870-1950, and along El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro, the road connecting New Mexico to Mexico from 1598 through the 1880s. Oral history is an important component of this research, and I've been involved with several oral history projects in this region. One of these, the New Mexico Rural Heritage Oral History Project, is the source of a short podcast series hosted on the KRWG website. At present, I am working for and with the Cañón de Carnué Land Grant to study archaeological evidence of previous occupations within the land grant.
I have previous experience working in cultural resource management (CRM) in the Southwest and Great Plains regions, and I regularly teach two of the core courses (ANTH 540 and 542) for the Graduate Certificate in Cultural Resource Management. The fall course (ANTH 463/540) focuses on CRM law, while the second course taught during the spring semester introduces students to the practice of CRM by involving them in active research projects relating to the Camino Real.  
*UPDATE: I will be on sabbatical during the spring of 2022, and may have limited ability to receive and respond to inquiries during that time.

Courses Presently in Rotation

  • ANTH 1115G: Introduction to Anthropology
  • ANTH 1160G: World Archaeology
  • ANTH 315: Introduction to Archaeology
  • ANTH 318/518: Historical Archaeology
  • ANTH 388/488/522: Archaeological Field School
  • ANTH 433V: Sex, Gender, and Culture (cross-listed with GNDR 433V)
  • ANTH 463/540: Cultural Resource Management
  • ANTH 542: Cultural Resource Management II
  • ANTH 503: Anthropological Theory
  • HNRS 2161G: Window on Humanity
  • HNRS 387V: Comparative Perspectives on Women

Other Courses

  • Archaeology of Identity
  • Archaeological Lab Techniques
  • Mesoamerican Archaeology

Photos from the field

Field School in Los Ojitos, 2014
Field trip to Quarai mission, 2014
CRMII class on the Camino Real, 2016
Field trip to Gran Quivira, 2016
CRMII site mapping, 2017
Collaborative fieldwork at Pena Blanca, 2018
CRMII class fieldwork at Parida, 2018
CRMII mapping exercise, 2021
CRMII mapping exercise, 2021
Carnue field school, 2021
Carnué Archaeological Project, 2021