May 2017
A Note from the Director

I have great news to share! The Board of Directors at the Summerlee Foundation has generously offered Shumla a gift of $125,000 to complete the funding for the Shumla Endowed Research Professorship at Texas State University. At Shumla HQ, this news has prompted happy tears, excited screams, group hugs and some very uncoordinated jigs.

Why are we so happy? Let me explain the position and what it means to Shumla, Dr. Carolyn Boyd, Texas State and the rock art of the Lower Pecos.
The Professorship

Texas State University will open a completely new position in the Department of Anthropology for the Shumla Endowed Research Professor. This professorship will be dedicated to the study of the pictographs of the Lower Pecos Canyonlands into perpetuity

The first to hold the position will be Shumla's very own Founder and Research Director, Carolyn Boyd. Texas State will pay the salary and benefits of the professor, while the dividend of the $600,000 endowment we have raised will provide for the professor's travel, research equipment, graduate assistantships, etc. 

The Shumla Endowed Research Professor (Carolyn and her successors) will join the Shumla Board of Directors and help guide Shumla's research strategy and collaborate actively with Shumla researchers for years to come.

What the Professorship Means
  • Founder Succession Planning - Transition of a founder can be a treacherous time in the lifespan of a non-profit. Understandably, after 20 years, Carolyn is ready to step away from administrative duties to focus full-time on  research and interpretive work. This position ensures that Shumla will continue to benefit from the guidance of our fearless leader. 

  • Future Employees of Shumla - What we do at Shumla is specialized. Our method of rock art documentation and study has been honed over years and applies the most advanced technologies. In her role at Texas State, Carolyn will be able to train the future generation of rock art researchers in the Shumla method. 

  • Access to Resources - The endowment of the professorship will provide a dividend that Carolyn (and her successors) will use to fund travel, graduate assistantships, materials and equipment for research in the Lower Pecos. The position will also open collaborative access to the resources afforded by a university, such as libraries and introductions to other researchers across disciplines and the world. All of this will advance Shumla's ability to achieve our mission without significant increases in our annual budget.
  • Collaborative Research - Every research project is built on 1) data collection and 2) data analysis. The endowed professorship position sets the stage for a perfect collaborative partnership for the preservation and study of the rock art of the Lower Pecos. On one side, Shumla gathering data in the field through the Alexandria Project, documenting the priceless art before it's lost and housing this data safely, securely and accessibly. On the other, the Shumla Endowed Professor using the great troves of data for the interpretive work and to train the next generation of students and scholars. 
  • An Even Stronger Texas State - Texas State has been building a reputation as a top-notch STEM education and research institution for years now. They are also on the cusp of creating a Doctoral Program in Archaeology. The professorship will contribute to both endeavors. In adding Carolyn to their fantastic team, they will be gaining a highly skilled, well-regarded and prolific scientific researcher, who is passionate, positive and a great communicator to boot. She's the whole package. Texas state students across disciplines will benefit from interaction with her. National and international scholars will benefit from communication and collaboration with her. Rock art research will be forever changed by her discoveries. And Texas State will be at the center of it all!

As you can see, it's hard to overstate the benefits of this position. The biggest winner will be the precious North American Archaic library of paintings. As of September 1, 2017, there will always be, in the department of Anthropology at Texas State University, a professor focused on the study of the precious ancient art of the Lower Pecos Canyonlands.

Thank you to Texas State University for having the foresight to create and fund a new position for the endowed professor. We couldn't ask for a better university or department for Carolyn and her successors to call home.

Thank you to the Shumla Board of Directors for understanding the importance of this position to the future success and growth of Shumla and for giving the initial gift of $300,000 that started the endowment.

Thank you to the Rock Art Foundation for a $25,000 gift toward the endowment given in faith and friendship.

Thank you to all the individuals who gave toward this effort - you know who you are - we are so grateful.

And finally, thank you to our heroes at the finish line,  The Summerlee Foundation.  Your gift sealed the deal!

In celebration with the entire Board and Staff of Shumla,

Jessica L. Lee
Executive Director

Another Fantastic Rancher Steward BBQ in the Books!

This month we welcomed landowner, rancher and agency stewards to the Shumla Harrington Campus for our annual Rancher Steward BBQ. As usual, it was a blast!

This is our chance each year to thank the people who care for the land and the art that we love so well and to share a day of fun, food and conversation. We also enjoy bringing the community up to speed on all the wonderful things we are learning at Shumla. This year our new Assistant Research Director, Karen Steelman, shared with the group about her work as an archaeological chemist, specializing the preparation of ancient paint samples for radiocarbon dating. 

Here are some pictures from the day!

Awesome RTIC mugs with Shumla logo, donated by RTIC.

There were raffles, door prizes and items for sale, including Shumla t-shirts and the White Shaman book.

We had representatives of the U.S. Border Patrol, Texas Parks and Wildlife, National Park Service, Val Verde County Sheriff's Office, Val Verde County Commissioners and other agencies with us. 

Dr. Melanie Hart from Texas Tech University chatting with Shumla archaeologists Jerod and Vicky.

Can't forget the Barbecue! We never go hungry at Rancher Steward! Our thanks to Hank Whitman (who donated the meat), Lacy Finley (who masterminded the meal and cooked the sides with great volunteer helpers) and Homer Minor (who smoked the meat to perfection).

We love it when the ranchers and stewards bring their families, kids and grandkids! That means we get to play with spear-throwers and spears.

Seminole Canyon Superintendent Randy Rosales takes a turn. It's not his first time... He throws like a pro!

Surprise Gift!

The Rancher Steward BBQ had one particularly special moment when Kim Cox, the Shumla Board and staff, and artist Bill Worrell surprised Carolyn with a gift to celebrate her final Rancher Steward BBQ as an employee of Shumla. 

Of course, we know she'll come to future BBQ's as our founder, a Shumla Board member and a research collaborator, but this was a very special moment as it marked a transition for her. 

President of the Board, Emil Zuberbueler, sent a message to introduce the surprise gift that Exec. Director Jessica Lee read aloud. 

I regret that I cannot be with you and so many friends today as we celebrate and acknowledge your leadership of Shumla. 

Each of us remembers first meeting you along your journey of exploration and documentation of the incredible rock art of the Lower Pecos Canyonlands.
Your years of work as an artist and archaeologist have inspired and encouraged students of all kinds in the quest for understanding the art with our heads and our hearts. 

From the "unconnected, mysterious scribbling" on canyon walls that we'd never understand, you have persevered in discovering sophisticated stories of birth and life and death and birth of the ancient ones. 

Because of you we now have glimpses into their hopes and dreams and find we are not so different many hundreds or even thousands of years later.
This painting by Bill Worrell reflects the spirit of this land, considered by many to be sacred and significant for what it can teach us about our ancestors and ourselves.

We, the staff and board, together with Bill, dedicate and offer it with our never-ending gratitude and admiration.

Emil Zuberbueler

Then Bill Worrell had one more surprise.
He had created a second painting for Jessica. 

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Photo credit: Jack Johnson
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Shumla Archaeological Research & Education Center 
P.O. Box 627, Comstock, TX 78837 USA    432-292-4848 
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