January 2021
Dear Friends,

A fabulous New Year to you. Around here, "happy" just isn't enough. The good news just keeps on coming.

You'll remember we ended last year by successfully completing the four-year Alexandria Project and making the 2020 match challenge. The bar was set pretty high for 2021.

Then, on January 15th, we got some incredible news. The U.S. Secretary of the Interior had signed the National Historic Landmark designation memo for The Lower Pecos Canyonlands Archeological District. Our exceptional region and 35 representative rock art sites within it, are now officially recognized as national treasures!

I'll share more about this designation in the article below. On a personal note, I'd like to say that managing the nomination project and collaborating with the National Park Service, Texas Parks and Wildlife and a number of private landowners, has been one of the greatest honors of my career. I am proud Shumla continues to do meaningful good for these "books" that still have so many stories and secrets to reveal.
May this good news be a harbinger of many more wonderful things to come for Shumla and for each of you this year.

All the best,
The Lower Pecos Canyonlands Archeological District, is now a National Historic Landmark.
This land has always been sacred. There's no question about that. For those of us lucky enough to have spent time in this place, it holds an almost magical allure. The decision by Archaic people to record their beliefs in marvelous works of art here suggests that they also felt this place was special.
Scientifically speaking, the archaeological sites in the Lower Pecos Canyonlands contain a superlative, unbroken record of human occupation spanning at least 11,000 years, represented by extensive deposits and pictographs. For nearly a century, archeologists and art historians have recognized the outstanding significance of these sites, their cultural deposits, and their art. Combined, the deposits and the art can yield a far more complete and complex picture of the past. Pecos River style (PRS) pictographs, unique to the region, are abundant, well-preserved, complex, and among the most significant body of pictographic images in North America.

For all these reasons, the Lower Pecos Canyonlands Archeological District has now taken its place next to other National Historic Landmarks that tell the story of America from the earliest inhabitants to our modern history.
What does the designation mean?
A National Historic Landmark designation is national recognition. You might compare it to receiving a recognition award at your job. I doesn’t necessarily “do” anything unless you put it on your resume and take advantage of the recognition as you seek to move ahead in your career. From Shumla's perspective, designation of the Lower Pecos Canyonlands Archeological District as a National Historic Landmark will help us immensely as we work to raise awareness and funding for the continued preservation and study of these incredible sites.

Does this mean the National Park Service owns more sites?
Nope. Designation of a property as a National Historic Landmark does not give ownership or oversight of the property to the National Park Service or any other person or agency. It's purely recognition.
What are some other National Historic Landmarks?
There are more than 2,600, but to name a few...
Alcatraz Island, California
Acoma Pueblo, New Mexico
Pearl Harbor, Hawaii
Mount Vernon, Virginia
Thank you to all our partners in this effort. There have been so many who have given their time and expertise over the past six years. In particular, we'd like to call out our NHL team members Michael Strutt and Tim Roberts at Texas Parks and Wildlife; Michael Roller, Skylar Bauer, Susan Snow, Chris Ryan and Jack Johnson at the National Park Service; Carolyn Boyd at Texas State University; Steve Black at Ancient Southwest Texas Project; Greg Williams at the Rock Art Foundation and the amazing Nancy Kenmotsu, Shumla Board Member and drafter of the 138-page NHL nomination.
Shumla has a new Board President

We are happy to announce that Lacy Finley has been elected to the position of Chair of Shumla's Board of Directors. Lacy is President/CEO of Tech Cumulus, based in Austin. Tech Cumulus is a woman-owned marketing agency dedicated to helping small businesses and nonprofits succeed. Lacy has served on numerous boards and committees with focus on education, public policy, business, science, technology, and veterans’ affairs. Lacy grew up in Eldorado, Texas. She and her family are the proud stewards of their family's Schleicher County ranch that has been in the family for over 100 years. 

Lacy’s long-time love has been the ancient "books" found in the rock art of the Lower Pecos. She has served on our Board of Directors for over 15 years! In that time, she has been a part of major decisions driving the organization and has planned and led numerous camping trips and guided tours across the Lower Pecos.

One of her favorite excursions is the 4-day camping trip to Dolan Falls on the Devil’s River she has been organizing for the past 8 years. Campers are treated to morning rock art hikes, and afternoon swimming in the river, with a good bit of stewardship thrown in for good measure. Her knowledge of Lower Pecos rock art comes from her love and admiration for Dr. Boyd and Shumla’s research. 

Now, in her role as Chair of the Board she will be even more involved with the governance of our unique organization and making it all it can be.

Welcome, Lacy!
Debt of Gratitude

Shumla would like to offer a resounding thank you to our out-going Chair of the Board of Directors, Kay Watt. Your leadership and guidance have shepherded us through two years of great change and growth. We are so glad that you will slide right into the role of Past President and continue to give your time and expertise to our fantastic Board and staff.

Thank you, Kay!
New Published Research!

Shumla is proud to announce the peer-reviewed publication of a new research article in the Journal of Archaeological Science by Karen Steelman, Carolyn Boyd, and Trinidy Allen entitled Two Independent Methods for Dating Rock Art: Age Determination of Paint and Oxalate Layers at Eagle Cave, TX.

This study used two independent methodologies to date two discrete materials: 1) organic binders in paint and 2) oxalate mineral accretions under and on top of the paint. Our results firmly place the production of the rock art panel at Eagle Cave at 3500 years ago or around 1,500 BC, which is at the end of the Middle Archaic in the Lower Pecos. Since the results of the two independent methods agree, this supports the validity of the scientific approach.. Here's how...
In the chart above you see the date range results from radiocarbon dating of the paint itself (in blue), the oxalate that was under the paint (in green) and the oxalate that was on top of the paint (in orange). The three paint dates are the same age. Then, the oxalate underneath the paint is older, and the oxalate on top of the paint is younger. You're thinking... well obviously! But it's important that all three types of dates are in the expected chronological order. When they are, we can trust the dates we are getting.
Trinidy Allen conducted much of the analyses as part of her undergraduate research experience in Dr. Steelman’s research laboratory at the University of Central Arkansas.

Here Trinidy is seen presenting her research poster at a chemistry symposium.

Well done, Trinidy!
We greatly appreciate the graciousness of the Skiles family for allowing us to study this amazing archaeological site on their family ranch. We also want to thank the Ancient Southwest Texas Project and Dr. Steve Black for his support of this project.
To read our article, the journal publisher has created a link providing free access to the article until February 25, 2021.
Click the button to be taken to the final web version on ScienceDirect. You can read it and even click on the “download PDF” symbol at the top of the page if you want to keep a copy!
Make Valentine's Day extra special this year!
Give a donation of any amount and we will mail a personalized Shumla valentine to your special someone. Who doesn't love mail?

The design is a Veronica and Eloise Hackett original. It's sure to impress!

How? On Shumla's Donate page, choose "A Valentine Tribute" in the drop down. Then, in the Tribute section, enter your loved one's name and mailing address.
Shameless baby Eloise cameo. She just turned 6 months old and she's already an artist like her mom.
We snail mail our valentines... so get your donation in soon to be sure it makes it there on time!

The mail snails are a bit slower these days...
Shumla Archaeological Research & Education Center 
P.O. Box 627, Comstock, TX 78837
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