F rom 2011 through 2014, the Texas Department of Transportation collaborated with Prewitt and Associates, Inc., to investigate an isolated grave in a remote area alongside FM 481 in Maverick County, Texas. An initial archeological investigation confirmed that the location was a historic grave, and archival records revealed that it contained the remains of Salvador Camarena, a Mexican citizen who died in Texas in January 1950. Additional research identified Camarena’s son and other family members living in Mexico, California, and Texas. With the family’s permission, the burial remains were exhumed, examined, and reinterred at La Marque Cemetery in Galveston County, Texas, where Camarena’s mother and two sisters are buried.

The bioarcheological analysis of the skeletal remains corroborates the historical information. Together, the bioarcheological and historical data provide a rare glimpse into the life and death of a migrant laborer. The burial of one immigrant worker may seem insignificant. However, the Camarena case represents a sad but common theme in the history of migrant labor. Like many before him and even more since, Camarena probably died in a foreign country seeking a means to support his family when traveling to seasonal agricultural work.

Licensing Statement

This is a work for hire produced for the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), which owns all rights, title, and interest in and to all data and other information developed for this project under its contract with the report producer. The report may be cited and brief passages from this publication may be reproduced without permission provided that credit is given to TxDOT and the firm that produced it. Permission to reprint an entire chapter, section, figures or tables must be obtained in advance from the Supervisor of the Archeological Studies Branch, Environmental Affairs Division, Texas Department of Transportation, 125 East 11th Street, Austin, Texas, 78701


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