Dearest Friends,

Sunday, February 12, 2023 was Shumla's official 25th Birthday! We are so thrilled to have reached this milestone. Celebrate with us! Walk with us down memory lane. Visit our timeline of pictures and stories of Shumla’s beginnings and our 25 years of growth and impact at!

We also have some touching videos with some of Shumla's longest-serving staff and board members as they remember Shumla's early years and share their visions for Shumla's future.

You are here with us in this celebration and this remembering. You are the reason we have made it this far. And you will be the reason that we continue this work for another 25 years and beyond. We could not possibly be more grateful for you and your support. We are celebrating this milestone with you!

Thank you!


Catch up with the happenings of the Hearthstone Project!

Between September 2021 and May 2022, the team completed intensive field and labwork at five sites: we documented the vibrant panel at Halo Shelter, the massive panel at Panther Cave with our fantastic new scaffolding, the

difficult-to-access panels at Jackrabbit and Jaguar Shelters, and the famous “quintet panel” at Fate Bell. Check out Dr. Phil Dering’s blog posts for more information about our exciting work at these rock art sites.

We then set our sights on documenting the next few sites! Since September 2022, the team has conducted field work at three different rock art panels near the Rio Grande River. At two of these sites, we conducted in-depth studies of paint stratigraphy as the team perched atop high ladders with our digital microscope to examine the panels’ intricate paint layers. We also conducted several days of field work associated with radiocarbon dating studies for the pictographs at all three sites.

Back in the lab, Dr. Karen Steelman and Rudy Banny have worked tirelessly to prepare, process, and measure the samples collected throughout the Hearthstone Project. We are on our way to obtaining new radiocarbon dates for the pictographs at new sites. Audrey Lindsay, Dr. Diana Radillo Rolón, Seamus Anderson, and Katie Wilson have processed the data and completed stratigraphic determinations by reviewing countless photographs. Shumla collaborator Ashley Busby completed compositional art analyses of the panel compositions. Dr. Carolyn Boyd created multilayered panel renderings and built complex Harris matrices charting mural compositions. The research team has been busy!

All this work is a part of two major pillars of the project, archaeological science and art analysis. Dr. Boyd and Dr. Dering recently completed ethnographic fieldwork for the third project pillar: Indigenous knowledge. They traveled to Mexico earlier this year with ethnologists Drs. Stacy Schaefer and Jim Bauml to consult with the Huichol in Mexico. Dr. Boyd’s renderings were shared with Huichol community elders, artists, and shamans for comments and insights.

Based on our initial observations of the stratigraphic, radiocarbon, and ethnographic data, we anticipate the project results will be truly groundbreaking. Stay tuned for more Hearthstone Project blog posts, Lunch & Learn presentations, and peer-reviewed publications in the near


Conversations with Indigenous consultants

Sometimes the experience is as interesting as the data we collect. Over 30 years ago, Dr. Carolyn Boyd identified parallels between the rock art of the Lower Pecos and Huichol cosmology. One of her dreams has been to visit with Huichol elders living in the Sierra Madre Occidental of Mexico to see if they can read and understand Lower Pecos rock art. That dream came true this year thanks to funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Carolyn and her husband Dr. Phil Dering traveled with Drs. Stacy Schaefer and Jim Bauml, two ethnologists with over 40 years of experience working in the region, to the Huichol community of San Andrés Cohamiata. For two weeks they lived with their host family, interviewed shamans, shared renderings of the rock art, and experienced life in the Sierras. Join Carolyn as she shares a brief travelogue of this incredible adventure.

Two weeks with Huichol elders

Carolyn Boyd, PhD., Shumla Founder

Virtual presentation on Zoom

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Noon – 1 p.m. Central Time

Register Today

We're starting our season off strong with a Trek to Halo Shelter on March 11th!

Halo Shelter sits within a small tributary canyon approximately 5 km from the Devils River on a private ranch in Val Verde County. Halo Shelter boasts one of the best-preserved Pecos River style pictograph panels in the region. The site gets its name from a unique arch motif with rayed lines extending from it over the top of several figures’ heads. Along with the halo motif, there are a wide assortment of unique and vibrant Pecos River style figures and motifs intricately executed.

Scroll to check out our full Spring and Fall Treks calendar including our newly added Treks locations!

March Treks

Halo Shelter and

Devils River Overlook

Saturday, March 11

Painted Shelter and Vaquero Shelters

Sunday, March 12

Eagle Cave, Skiles Shelter, Kelley Cave

Saturday, March 25

Vinegarroon Historic Railroad Camp

Sunday, March 26

April Treks

VV75 and the Red Linear Type Site

Saturday, April 22

Fate Bell, Fate Bell Annex, and Running Horse Shelters

Sunday, April 23

May Treks

Ultimate Shumla

HQ and Lab Tour &

Pecos Overlook

Saturday, May 6

Running Horse

Shelter and Seminole Canyon Museum

Sunday, May 7

Black Cave and Vaquero Shelter

Sunday, May 21

Full 2023 Shumla Treks Schedule

September Treks

Ultimate Shumla HQ and Lab Tour & Pecos Overlook

Saturday, September 9

Running Horse Shelter and Seminole Canyon SPHS Museum

Sunday, September 10

Halo Shelter and Devils River Swim

Saturday, September 23

Painted Shelter and Vaquero Shelter

Sunday, September 24

October Treks

Los Vientos and Sunburst Shelter

Saturday, October 28

Black Cave and Vaquero Shelter

Sunday, October 29

November Treks

Eagle Cave, Skiles Shelter, Kelley Cave

Saturday, November 4

Vinegarroon Historic Railroad Camp

Sunday, November 5

Meyers Springs Shelter and Historic Site

Saturday, November 18

Fate Bell, Fate Bell Annex, and Running Horse Shelters

Sunday, November 19

Shumla Treks Gift Voucher

Gift a unique Trek experience with a Treks Gift Voucher, available for purchase on our website.

Shumla Treks Gift Voucher

A special guest joins our book club!

This past month we had a very special guest join our Staff & Board book club. It was none other than the author of the book we are reading, Aztec Philosophy, Understanding a World in Motion - Dr. James Maffie! We were so star-struck! He shared insights that blew us away. And was very impressed as our Book Club leader and Board Member, Dr. Marie Feldmeier, gave a synopsis of the pages we had read. It was a mutual adoration society and we hope he'll come back for more!

25 years down,

25 years to go!

This year is a huge milestone year for Shumla! As much as we love reflecting on the past and all of our many accomplishments, we can't help but look to the future. We have an incredible team, a clear vision for what's to come in the years ahead and the dedicated support of all of you. Help launch us into the next 25 years of Shumla!

Support Us Today!

If a donation is not possible for you today, show your support by sharing our mission with others. You can show your support by sharing this newsletter and our social media posts.

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Visit the Lower Pecos by flying with American Airlines to Del Rio, Texas. American Airlines American Eagle flies to Del Rio from DFW Airport in Dallas. American Airlines will suspend all flights to and from Del Rio as of April 3, 2023. 

Visit to get your ticket today. 

Shumla Archaeological Research & Education Center 

P.O. Box 627, Comstock, TX 78837 | 


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