June 2024

Big news, Shumla Friends!

Shumla is hiring! We are actively looking for a Deputy Director to sit in our San Marcos office.

For nine years, as Executive Director, I have directed Shumla's Administrative and Fundraising efforts. I've worn many hats overseeing business operations, like HR, IT, and accounting, while also writing grant proposals and developing campaigns to fund our projects and programs. Now, it's time for me to hand over my administrative duties to a Deputy Director and focus more wholly on strategic planning and ensuring Shumla has the funding we need to operate and achieve our goals.

We have a priceless archive of rock art imagery and information that must be managed, maintained and, most importantly, shared. We have students and interns to welcome and involve in our preservation work and the study of the rock art. We have hundreds of endangered sites yet to reach and digitally preserve on both sides of the border. We know that this ancient library is precious and will expand the knowledge and understanding of the generations who come after us.

One of my favorite sayings is "May our roots outpace our branches." This Deputy Director position is a recognition of the need to grow our roots, so that we may grow our branches. Our passion for this work and this resource is unwavering. We're reaching farther than ever before. To be strong and stable, to grow and change, we've got to keep our roots strong.

Check out the job description here and if you know of anyone in Central Texas with administrative/operations experience, please pass this link along.

Thank you!


Honoring Dr. Steelman

Shumla’s very own Science Director, Dr. Karen Steelman, received the 2024 Frank & A. J. Bock Award from the American Rock Art Research Association (ARARA). The Bock Award recognizes extraordinary lifetime achievement in the fields of rock art studies, documentation, education, conservation, and outreach. She was nominated by her mentor and collaborator, Dr. Marvin Rowe, for advancements in radiocarbon dating pictographs. In particular, he lauded her pioneering work in dating oxalate layers above and below the paint to bracket and corroborate dates obtained from the paint layer.

Karen has collaborated with archaeologists around the globe to radiocarbon date, document, and preserve rock art. She is a dedicated educator, mentoring students and interns in archaeological science. In a heartfelt introduction, Dr. Rowe, who pioneered the science of dating rock art, proclaimed that Karen’s current method is the best in the world! It was an emotional and deeply meaningful moment for Karen, Dr. Rowe and all of us who support and benefit from Karen's cutting-edge research.

Shumla at ARARA

Shumla presented results from the Hearthstone Project at the American Rock Art Research Association’s Annual (ARARA) Conference in Farmington, NM. This year’s conference marked the 50th anniversary of the ARARA organization. Shumla's Science Director, Dr. Karen Steelman, serves as Secretary on the ARARA Board of Directors.

The annual conference includes field trips to rock art sites and presentations by ARARA members sharing their research. Shumla shared a poster about new documentation and radiocarbon dating results at Eagle Cave in the Lower Pecos Canyonlands of southwest Texas. 

The poster was co-authored by Karen, David Keim (Preservation Archaeologist), and Dr. Diana Radillo Rolón (Senior Preservation Archaeologist), seen below working diligently on illustrations and Harris matrices of Eagle Cave pictographs based on Shumla's high-resolution gigapans.

An Ancient Account

Texas State and Shumla's collaborative work on the Hearthstone Project was featured in a new article in the Texas State University Hillviews Magazine.

In this beautifully photographed and descriptive article, author Matt Joyce thoughtfully detailed the research of Dr. Carolyn Boyd, Dr. Karen Steelman, Dr. Phil Dering, and Texas State graduate students as they explored the antiquity and meaning of the art of the Lower Pecos.

"Our findings completely change previous perceptions about hunter-gatherers, about their complexity, and about how they utilized labor. They didn't have monumental architecture, but they had monumental art."

Click to Read the Article

July Lunch & Learn

In 2023, Drs. Carolyn Boyd and Phil Dering conducted interviews and collected audio recordings as Indigenous Huichol consultants related Pecos River Style imagery to their own myths and cosmology.

In this fourth and final installment, Carolyn will share the results of her analysis of these indigenous interviews and how they are opening new lines of inquiry and discovery in the interpretation of Pecos River Style murals. You will marvel at how they reveal deeply embedded symbols and concepts in the rock art that endure today in the ancestral knowledge of Indigenous Native America.

Hearthstone Project Results 4 of 4:

Motif Interpretation

Presenter: Carolyn Boyd, PhD.

Date: Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Time: Noon to 1:00 PM Central Time

Platform: Zoom

Click to Register Today!

Watch Shumla's Presentations on YouTube

Did you know that Shumla has a YouTube channel? Our YouTube channel currently houses twenty-nine Lunch & Learn presentations from over the last three years as well as many other types of presentations Shumla has done online and in person.

Our ultimate goal is to share our mission and the wonder of the Lower Pecos rock art with as many people as possible, reaching those around the country and the world. We hope you'll enjoy re-watching some of our past presentations. Don't forget to share them!

Watch Today!

Lunch & Learn on YouTube

Sign up and mark your calendar!

One Step at a Time:

Building Our Capacity for Digital Preservation

Throughout Shumla’s 26 years of rock art documentation and research, we have amassed a staggering nearly 80 terabytes of digital data! Much of this data is in the form of high-resolution photography, GigaPans, and 3D models of rock art panels. With technology rapidly changing each year, how do we manage this data and ensure that it is accessible to future researchers? Kelsie, Shumla's Curator and Data Manager, will guide you through Shumla’s digital preservation efforts…one step at a time!

Presenter: Kelsie Hart, M.A.

Date: Wednesday, August 21, 2024

Time: Noon to 1:00 PM Central Time

Platform: Zoom

Register for our August Lunch & Learn

Canyons to Classrooms

During the September Lunch and Learn, Mandy will share insights and experiences from her internship at Shumla. Since February, Mandy has been working with Dr. Karen Steelman to develop educational materials in collaboration with Project Archaeology. The curriculum they are creating focuses on the cultural significance of the rock art found in Fate Bell Shelter.

Discover how Shumla is working to bring the ancient artwork of Texas Archaic peoples to the classroom through interactive lessons and innovative teaching tools designed for young students.

Presenter: Mandy Newport

Date: Wednesday, September 18, 2024

Time: Noon to 1:00 PM Central Time

Platform: Zoom

Register for our September Lunch & Learn

Be Our Fuel

We can't do it without you.

Support our mission with one click!

Your contribution makes it possible for us to continue our work in the Lower Pecos Canyonlands.

Click to Donate(every single $ counts) 
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Shumla Archaeological Research & Education Center 

P.O. Box 627, Comstock, TX 78837

info@shumla.org | shumla.org 


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