The globally-recognized Shumla Method documents each mural so thoroughly that it can forever be studied, and even recreated, if the mural itself is lost. The Shumla Method includes three levels of documentation. (Learn about each level.) Though each site must eventually be documented completely, full documentation is intensive and can take up to two years at a large site.
There are 320
known mural sites in Val Verde County alone. More are discovered each year. At the present rate, and with our current number of archaeologists, it would take over 100 years to preserve them all. We don't have that much time. Many sites will be destroyed by flooding. Most of the others are deteriorating at a rapid pace. We must visit and collect
site as soon as possible.
The Alexandria Project
The Alexandria Project is designed to preserve the Lower Pecos murals with the same planning and efficiency that one would use to catalog and preserve the books in a library. The project will be completed in two main phases.
- Phase 1 - Assessment and Baseline Data Gathering
- A three-year project to be conducted 2017 to 2020
- Phase 2 - Full Documentation of All Sites
- An on-going project to be conducted in 2020 and beyond
Phase 1 Plan
Shumla will add two new archaeologists to our team. Working with landowners and with express permission,
Shumla's team of five archaeologists will follow
and data management
to complete baseline documentation at as many of the 320 recorded rock art sites in Val Verde County as possible. We plan to do this in just three years. This means we must visit approximately 10 sites per month.
each site we will:
- Capture a high-resolution Gigapan image of each entire mural,
- Record an accurate GPS coordinate,
- Capture image data for SfM Photogrammetry 3-D Modeling,
- Complete a State of Texas Archeological Site Form (TexSite Form),
- Complete Shumla's Rock Art Site Form, and
- Complete canyon surveys near known sites to discover new sites.
Phase 1 Goal
Successful completion of this project will:
- Give us a more complete picture of our library of painted texts,
- Gather imagery of the rock art for an entire archaeological region,
- Establish a baseline record of the rock art in its current condition,
- Result in the formation of a giant data set that can be used by scholars and students to explore and answer globally-significant questions, and
- Allow Shumla to correctly prioritize sites for Phase 2 full documentation based on threat level, preservation level, complexity and importance.
Phase 1 Cost
$2,000,000 over three years
The Alexandria Project is ambitious. In fact, this is the most ambitious project Shumla has ever undertaken. However, we can no longer preserve one site at a time. We must think of the bigger picture and the larger goal.
If we are serious about preserving what we now know is an almost unimaginable library of information about Mesoamerican and North American cultures, painted thousands of years before we thought it was possible to have a "written" record, we must treat it as such. We must preserve it with the whole library in mind, not just book by book.
It's a big job, but somebody's gotta do it.
As you know, this is the last year of our multi-year matching challenge grant. We will apply our final $100,000 match to launch The Alexandria Project in 2017.
This will not only contribute toward our three-year $2,000,000 budget directly, but it will help us in our foundation fundraising efforts. Such a large sum from such a diverse donor base will demonstrate to foundations that we have the support of the broader public to preserve these sites.
Please consider a gift to Shumla to help us succeed. Thank you!