Dear Friends,

After months of scorching drought, this month we are experiencing torrential rains. In a blink we've gone from a land so dry even the prickly pear couldn't survive, to high waters and deep thick mud. As much as we pray for water and need it, these are the kind of rain events that keep the Shumla Familia up at night. Heavy rain that can't soak in and runs fast and furious down the canyons brings silt and gravel to fill canyon bottoms and scours the precious murals that have been there for 5,000 years. As we listen to the rain on our roofs, our hearts are in the canyons. 

But here's the good news. Shumla is here. For almost 25 years we have been here, documenting these precious sites and working with landowners and agencies to mitigate impact. Because we are here, if the worst happens and a mural is lost, it won't be lost completely. We have it preserved in our data, in vivid high-resolution images, figure photographs, 3D models, chemical analyses and more. We will go visit the sites we are the most concerned about when we can reach them again. And we will keep on doing the work that preserves the priceless stories of the ancient people. This rain reminds us why this work is so important and gives us renewed purpose as we forge ahead. Thank you for supporting us and our mission to preserve the oldest "books" in North America. 

All the best,
Donate to our work to preserve the ancient murals

Photo credit: Jack Johnson

Shumla Treks Offer a Revealing Look

at the Ancient Rock Art of

Southwest Texas - By Pam LeBlanc

"Fifteen hikers dodge a minefield of prickly pear cacti and thorny shrubs as they descend into Upper Presa Canyon in a remote section of Seminole Canyon State Park & Historic Site, bordering the Rio Grande in Southwest Texas. The hikers round a pair of boulders in the bottom of a dry creekbed, then look up."

Click here for the full article

Fall is a gorgeous time to visit the Lower Pecos Canyonlands. Come see for yourself!

Scroll to see your Fall Trek options or visit for all the details.

October 1

Halo Shelter Mural and the Devils River ♦♦♦♦

Saturday, October 1, we'll explore Halo Shelter Mural, one of the best-preserved Pecos River style pictograph panels in the region. Our recent work at Halo has revealed incredible discoveries. This trek ends with a dip in the gorgeous blue Devils River, one of the last wild rivers in Texas.

Register for Halo Shelter Trek

October 2

Painted Shelter Mural - Half-Day ♦♦

Sunday, October 2, we're heading to Painted Shelter, home of the best-preserved Red Monochrome style rock art panel in the region. After visiting the site, we will take you on a tour of Shumla's headquarters, research facility and laboratory where radiocarbon dating of these incredible sites takes place. This is a great choice if you are looking for a Trek with an easier hike.

Register for Painted Shelter Trek

October 7

Judge Roy Bean Center, Vinegarroon Ghost Town, and Shumla Headquarters 

Friday, October 7, we'll start the day at the Judge Roy Bean Visitor's Center to learn about the history of Langtry, the railroad and the legendary Judge Roy Bean. Then we'll head over to Vinegarroon Ghost Town to explore the historic remnants and the spectacular view of the Rio Grande. We'll end the day with a tour of Shumla's headquarters, research facility and laboratory.

Register for Judge Roy Bean Center, Vinegarroon, and Shumla HQ Trek

October 22

Meyers Spring Panel and Historic Site 

Saturday, October 22, we will take you to Meyers Springs Panel and Historic site to see the rock art relating to the Historic period. Will you be able to spot horseback riders, shields, buffalo, bows and arrows? There is so much to see at this impressive site and at the ruins of the old fort outpost.

Register for Meyers Spring Trek

October 23

Black Cave and Vaquero Shelter ♦♦♦

Sunday, October 23, we will hike to Black Cave Shelter with its vivid and iconic rock art. Next we'll head to Vaquero Shelter. This site has tell-tale historic period rock art depicting riders mounted on horseback with a Longhorn cow and calf, a structure resembling a Spanish mission and a man in a Spanish uniform.

Register for Black Cave and Vaquero Trek

Can't make an October Trek?

Come in November!

  • November 05: Eagle Nest Canyon (full day) ♦♦♦♦
  • November 06: Mountain Laurel and Shumla Campus (half day) ♦♦♦ 1/2
  • November 19: VV75 and Red Linear Type Site (full day) ♦♦♦♦♦
  • November 20Fate Bell, Fate Bell Annex, and Running Horse (full day) ♦♦♦
View the full Fall Shumla Trek schedule

If you are concerned about your ability to hike

to our Trek locations, reach out!

We will walk you through the whole Trek and help you decide if it's right for you. There are accommodations for some treks. For example, the November 6th trip to Mountain Laurel, Shumla campus is listed as a three and a half diamond trek. But, if you are not a hiker, you can stay at the campus while the rest of the group hikes and enjoy the pristine views, walk the nature trails and have a lovely morning with no need to over-exert yourself.

To talk about a Trek, email!

Join Shumla Science Director Dr. Karen Steelman at our September Lunch & Learn

Shumla’s Science Director, Dr. Karen Steelman, will share exciting new results The Hearthstone Project. This project synthesizes expertise from archaeological science, formal art analysis, and Indigenous consultants. One of our main goals is to develop a chronology to understand when the paintings were produced. Join us for some jaw-dropping findings!

The Hearthstone Project:

New Data from the Radiocarbon Lab

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Noon - 1pm Central Time

Click to Register for Lunch & Learn
Shumla Lunch and Learns are held virtually using
Zoom so anyone anywhere can join us!

Mark your calendar for future Lunch & Learns

  • October 12: "Felinos" presented by Dr. Diana Rolón (in Spanish)
  • November 16: Formal Art Analysis - more info to come.

Rock art preservation may be our mission and focus, but we still need a roof over our heads. That means upkeep and maintenance on our Comstock properties. These spaces are home to our staff and integral to the work we are doing in the region. Our headquarters in Comstock keep us close to the art of the Lower Pecos while our Harrington Campus provides us with a beautifully serene space for visitors and students alike. 

We'd like to extend a giant Shumla thank you to volunteer Justin Berry for helping us out with maintenance and repairs at our Comstock properties! He is a master of all trades, it seems! As you can see, he has braved (and repaired) many of our roofs this past month. Thank you, Justin!

We Need Your Support

You have the power to preserve, protect and share this precious history that belongs to us all!
Any amount of support will give us the resources we need to continue our work. A small monthly gift adds up and makes a big difference! Will you take a moment and help us by scheduling a monthly gift?
Click here to give!
Visit the Lower Pecos by flying with American Airlines to Del Rio, Texas. American Airlines American Eagle flies to Del Rio from DFW Airport in Dallas. Visit to get your ticket today
Shumla Archaeological Research & Education Center 
P.O. Box 627, Comstock, TX 78837
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