Hello friends!

It's time again for an update from southwest Texas. It's been a gorgeous month full of hard work and stunning art. Our Spring Treks season has ended but it is never too early to plan your visit in the Fall. Don't miss next month's Lunch & Learn, either. Audrey will give an update on the progress of the Hearthstone Project. They make it look easy but it is grueling work. And finally, a big congratulations to our Shumla Scholars graduates and all those graduating or celebrating a graduate this month. You make us so proud.

Thank you!


May is a beautiful month for to be in the field!

We conducted fieldwork for two of our major initiatives:

1) Preservation documentation at new (to us) sites, and

2) The Hearthstone Project.

First, we focused on documentation of a remarkable Pecos River Style mural near the Pecos River. We were joined by Archaeologist Mark Willis. He is continually working to improve the efficiency and resolution of documentation methods. He shared some new gear and techniques with us that we will incorporate into our field methods.

We also had the wonderful opportunity to share Shumla's mission and work with National Geographic Photographer Stephen Alvarez for an upcoming article. Stephen also had state-of-the-art gear, tips and techniques to share. We’re so grateful to Mark and Stephen for joining us and sharing their knowledge and expertise as we documented the site!

During our second week in the field we conducted stratigraphic analyses and radiocarbon sampling at VV1205, a Pecos River style rock art site high in the canyon wall near the Rio Grande River. The crew used a hand-held digital microscope to analyze paint layering within the mural. In the lab, we completed double-blind analysis of the photo-micrographs and selected locations for radiocarbon dating.

A major goal of the Hearthstone Project is to directly date attributes and motifs associated with Pecos River style anthropomorphic (human-like) figures. At VV1205, we're radiocarbon-dating four figures within the mural that will help us place these attributes, and the mural overall, in time.

Plasma oxidation sample preparation is currently underway in Shumla’s Archaeological Chemistry Laboratory in Comstock and will be followed by measurement at the Center for Accelerator Mass Spectrometry to determine age. With six of the ten sites under our belts for the Hearthstone Project, we’ll be finishing out the year with stratigraphic analyses and radiocarbon dating at four additional sites. Stay tuned!

That's one hard-working team!

Congratulations, Shumla Scholars!

Our Comstock ISD seniors graduated this month. Before their big day, we celebrated the end of their high school career and their time as Scholars, with one last field trip! Two students unfortunately couldn’t join us at the last minute, but the rest of the group had a great time exploring three fantastic rock art sites nearby.

The Scholars (joined by their teacher, Cody Hardin) got to see paintings in noticeably different states of preservation, showing just how important it is that we digitally preserve these ancient works while we still can.

After our morning hike, we stopped by the Judge Roy Bean Visitor Center in Langtry to check out some more recent history of the region. From there, we made our way back to the Shumla Office for a fun end-of-year send-off with some homemade ice cream and other liquid nitrogen fun.

Congratulations, Scholars, we can’t wait to see where you go from here!

Catching up with the Hearthstone Project!

In this Lunch & Learn, Shumla Senior Preservation Archaeologist Audrey Lindsay will provide an update on the Hearthstone Project. She’ll briefly review this collaborative project’s overarching goals and research questions as a refresher. Then, she’ll share more of the details about the current status of our fieldwork and labwork, plus our exciting next steps going forward.

Catching up with the Hearthstone Project!

Virtual presentation on Zoom

Wednesday, June 21, 2023

Noon – 1 p.m. Central Time

Register Today

September will be here before you know it.

Plan your Fall Trek today!

Trek with us to Painted Shelter and Vaquero Shelter on Sunday, September 24th. Painted Shelter is home to the best-preserved example of the Red Monochrome style rock art. It also has tantalizing remnant Pecos River style murals.

Vaquero Shelter gets its name from the Historic period rock art depicting two riders mounted on horseback with a Longhorn cow and calf, adjacent to a structure resembling a Spanish mission and a man in a Spanish uniform. The shelter also contains Pecos River style art and Red Monochrome style figures.

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

2023 Shumla Treks Schedule

Gift a unique Shumla Trek experience to someone special. Purchase a Treks Gift Voucher, on our website. Your recipient can then choose their trek and pay with the voucher.

We're not here if you're not with us.

We have an incredible team and a clear vision for what's to come. With your support we can continue vital preservation, life-changing education and epic discoveries. Please support Shumla with a gift today!

Please Support Shumla

Shumla Archaeological Research & Education Center 

P.O. Box 627, Comstock, TX 78837

info@shumla.org | shumla.org 


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