May 2024

Dear Friends,

Here we are on the edge of summer. For the youth in my orbit, today is the last day of school. That glorious day of freedom. I still remember the feeling. The memory is accompanied, of course, by a mental rendition of Alice Cooper's "School's Out."

School is also out for our Shumla Scholars. The Comstock ISD Seniors graduated last weekend. We are so proud of this superb class. You'll read below about their final project of the year, a day of Scholar-led archaeology activities for the Kindergarten through 5th grade classes at Comstock ISD. The time they spent in learning the materials and preparing to teach it is an effort will continue. The activities they developed for elementary school youth will be added to Shumla's toolbox and our Project Archaeology curriculum, currently in progress. (More on this in coming eNewsletters.)

To our graduating Shumla Scholars we hope you revel in that "school's out" feeling. You've earned it. As you head into the next phase of your life, we hope you find the studies, roles, jobs and professions that bring you so much joy you'll feel like "school's out forever."

All the best,


National Geographic

The May 2024 issue of National Geographic contains an eye-catching article entitled, "Storied Rock" that features Shumla.

"For millennia, Indigenous peoples etched and painted their stories across the landscape of present-day North America. Today, as more artworks are revealed, Native and non-Native experts are bringing a rich cultural heritage into view."

The article is a fabulous photographic journey through indigenous rock art and earthen works of North America photographed by National Geographic Explorer (and friend of Shumla) Stephen Alvarez as part of his effort to build the Ancient Art Archive.

Shumla is mentioned alongside a beautiful photo of a portion of the Halo Shelter Mural. If you are a subscriber, you can click the link below to see the online version. Or you can pick up a copy at your local store or buy it online.

National Geographic Article

Farewell Katie!

Katie Wilson and her husband are jetting off on their next journey. We are so grateful not only for her two years of fantastic Shumla Treks, but also for leaving us so well-prepared with a clear, organized Treks Manual. We would expect nothing less. Katie had the unique opportunity to meet so many of you over her tenure with Shumla. For you, she left this note.

We know Katie won't be able to stay away from the rock art of the Lower Pecos for long. Happy trails, Katie, until we meet again!

Shumla Scholars Teach

The Shumla Scholars had a great time teaching the elementary school students at Comstock School about archaeology!

The seniors’ big project this year was designing and delivering lessons for the students in kindergarten through 5th grade at their school. There were three different activities: coloring pages, artifact bingo, and mock excavation exercises. The best way to learn something is to teach it—and the seniors learned a lot about archaeology this year to be able to teach it to so many young students!

Congratulations Jerod

Congratulations Jerod!

Former Shumla archaeologist, Jerod Roberts, recently completed his Master's Thesis. He focused on the study of the Red Linear Style of rock art in the Lower Pecos. He collaborated with Shumla's Science Director, Dr. Karen Steelman, and she served as one of his committee members. Here he is presenting her with his bound thesis. Congratulations, Jerod!

June Lunch & Learn

Through the Hearthstone Project, Shumla’s Archaeological Chemistry Laboratory obtained 60 radiocarbon dates for Pecos River Style pictographs. 

In this third installment of the Lunch and Learn series on our Hearthstone Results, Karen will reveal and synthesize these dates with the iconographic data, particularly what has been revealed about key motifs like the winged-anthropomorph and single-pole ladder.

Hearthstone Project Results 3 of 4:

A Chronology Emerges

Presenter: Karen Steelman, PhD.

Date: Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Time: Noon to 1:00 PM Central Time

Platform: Zoom

Click to Register Today!

Ready for More Results?

You've supported us and cheered us on since the beginning of the Hearthstone Project. Now that the rigorous work of gathering the data is done, the meticulous work of analysis and drawing conclusions is in full swing. We can't wait to share what we are learning.

Join us for the Hearthstone Project Results Lunch and Learn Series. Mark your calendar for our final installment featuring Carolyn Boyd in July. You can register anytime at


Carolyn Boyd, PhD. – Texas State University

Hearthstone Project Results 4 of 4:

Motif Interpretation

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 results of the 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.

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Amazon Wishlist

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Shumla Archaeological Research & Education Center 

P.O. Box 627, Comstock, TX 78837 | 


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