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Maren Hopkins and Kelsey Hanson – Los Barros de Juan Quezada: Land Use and Composition

February 17, 2025 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm MST

CHOOSE HOW YOU WILL ATTEND Join us in person at the University of Arizona Environmental Resources Bldg. # 2  Room 107, Agnese Nelms Haury Lecture Hall, 1064 E Lowell St, Tucson, AZ 85719  No registration is required 

Parking is easy! The 6th Street Parking Garage is right next to ENR2 on the east. There is also a surface lot just across 6th Street from ENR2.

Join By Zoom Registration is Required. Register Here.

Juan Quezada is a well-known ceramicist from the village of Mata Ortiz, Chihuahua, Mexico, who spent his lifetime studying the rocks and minerals near his home. While Mr.Quezada’s contribution to the internationally renowned Mata Ortiz pottery tradition is well established, his knowledge of the physical environment remains an understudied aspect of his life’s work. In an effort to highlight this important component of Juan Quezada’s legacy, we documented various clay sources near Mata Ortiz and studied them compositionally using techniques common in archaeology, including neutron activation analysis (NAA), x-ray fluorescence (XRF), x-ray diffraction (XRD), and petrography. As the project progressed,  the story of Juan Quezada’s clays evolved into a rich narrative of personal and shared experiences, history, land tenure, geology, toponomy, and more. Juan Quezada’s story brought the land to life. The compositional component of the project led to a new understanding of identity through the materialization of unique geological signatures expressed in each clay in terms of elements, minerals, and particles that are inherently tied to Mata Ortiz pots found on people’s shelves and mantles worldwide.

Speaker Maren P. Hopkins is a managing member of Anthropological Research, LLC. She has worked for 23 years as an archaeologist and ethnographer and has been part of numerous projects across the U.S Southwest and Mexico of all scopes and scales. She specializes in collaborative and place-based research to understand history, traditions, land use practices, and personal and community perspectives. Ms. Hopkins is also a Research Associate with the School of Anthropology at the University of Arizona, where she works on similar types of ethnographic research. Ms. Hopkins lived in Mata Ortiz during her youth and learned to make pottery from Juan Quezada. She has remained lifelong friends with the Quezada family.

Speaker Kelsey E. Hanson is a Ph.D. candidate in the School of Anthropology at the University of Arizona, where she specializes in the archaeology of the U.S. Southwest. Her work operates at the intersections of anthropological archaeology, conservation science, and community-centered scholarship. Ms. Hanson’s dissertation research is dedicated to reconstructing traditions of paint technology, communities of practice, and early governance in the Chaco World and has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the Smithsonian Institution, P.E.O. International, the Getty Foundation, and others.

Suggested Reading:

Arizona Archaeological and Historical Society 1994 The Pottery and Potters of Mata Ortiz, Chihuahua. Kiva 60(1). O’Connor, Richard D., and Walter P. Parks

2023 They Called It Pearson: The History of Mata Ortiz and the Casas Grandes Valley. Parks O’Connor Publishing, San Diego and Riverside, California.

Parks, Walter P.1993 The Miracle of Mata Ortiz: Juan Quezada and the Potters of Northern Chihuahua. The Coulter Press, Riverside, California.


February 17, 2025
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm MST
Event Category:


Susan Bierer


University of Arizona ENR2 Room 107, 1064 E Lowell St, Tucson
1064 E Lowell St.
Tucson, AZ United States
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