September 2021
Hi Friends!

A cool breeze is blowing through the desert and calling you to come visit us in the Lower Pecos. The archaeologists are working hard in the field and enjoying these cooler temperatures. The start of our school year with Shumla Scholars has been filled with hands-on projects and field trips. We've had fantastic groups on our recent Treks. Some have signed up for the next Trek the minute they arrived home!

So many wonderful things on the autumn horizon for us. We hope the same goes for you! Read on to hear about what we've been up to and register for your own Trek or Lunch and Learn.
Happy Fall!

The school year has begun at Comstock ISD.

That means a new group of Shumla Scholars! This year the class will be co-taught by Kayme Tims (Comstock ISD High School science teacher), Shumla Archaeological Chemist Dr. Karen Steelman, and Archaeologist Vicky Roberts. We've got plenty of hands on activities for the scholars to take part in to reinforce their lessons on what archaeology is, the archaeology here in the Lower Pecos, and how chemistry helps us better understand what ancient people were up to.

Last month Dr. Steelman brought in the pXRF device to their classroom to demonstrate how it works. We use this device to determine the elemental composition of paints in the rock art. The scholars learned about understanding the readings given by the instrument and were all offered a chance to take their own readings!
Vicky and Karen took the class to visit Fate Bell Shelter in Seminole Canyon State Park to see the rock art in person. They learned about plants and how prehistoric peoples used them, earth oven cooking, what the paint is made of, and the methods Shumla uses to preserve and study the rock art. We even found some Cochineal, an insect that was highly sought after historically because of the vibrant red color it produces for dyes. (It's there, in a white sac on the end of this Scholars' finger!)

After hiking around in the canyons, everyone cooled down in the park visitor’s center and explored the exhibits to learn more about the history and prehistory of the region. It was a great field trip for the Scholars and this promises to be a fantastic school year for us all! Welcome back to school, Shumla Scholars!
Like a book, each panel was painted to tell a story. Come read a chapter for yourself!
Descend into the picturesque canyons with a Shumla guide to view ancient sites. You’ll stand before the murals and learn about the complex worldview and fantastically rich culture of the people who created them.

Shumla Treks are day-long journeys that can fit into any West Texas travel plan. Sign up for one or sign up for many!

Visit to view our Trek itineraries. You’ll also find information on costs, transportation and housing.
October Treks
  • October 10 - Meyers Springs Panel and Historic Site ♦
  • October 16 - Fate Bell Shelter and Running Horse ♦♦♦
  • October 17 - Vaquero Shelter and Painted Shelter ♦♦
November Treks
  • November 6 - Eagle Cave, Skiles Shelter, Kelley Cave ♦♦♦♦
  • November 7 - Black Cave and Vaquero Shelter ♦♦♦♦
December Treks
  • December 4 - Halo Shelter and Shumla HQ Tour ♦♦♦♦
  • December 5 - Fate Bell Annex, Fate Bell, Running Horse ♦♦♦
♦ - Low or no exertion
♦♦ - Medium low exertion
♦♦♦ - Medium high exertion
♦♦♦♦ - High exertion
♦♦♦♦♦ - Very high exertion

Don't have a high clearance vehicle? Reach out; we'll make arrangements so you can participate.
Covid and/or border safety concerns? We monitor both the Covid-19 trends and the situation on the border very closely for our own staff, as well as our Treks participants. Our treks are outdoors and when indoors, we wear masks. The border is a very large place. It is safe where we lead Treks. We are in close communication with border patrol and always carry safety equipment including an AED. If you have any questions or if there is anything holding you back from planning to visit us, please reach out to talk with us about it. We love to hear from you!
Winged Anthropomorphs

This month's Lunch and Learn is a flight of fancy with Shumla Archaeologist, Audrey Lindsay. She will delve into the amazing motif of the winged anthropomorph (human-like figures painted with wings). Audrey has used the Alexandria Project data set to locate, describe, map and analyze this fascinating motif we encounter again and again across the landscape. You won't want to miss it!

This is a virtual FREE event, we hope you'll join us!

Winged Anthropomorphs
Wednesday, October 13, 2021
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM Central Time

Once you've registered, you'll receive an email confirmation with a Zoom link for the event. We will also send a reminder email on the day of the event. We look forward to seeing you on Zoom!

Emil has been hard at work this month on our new office in San Marcos on the Texas State University campus. He's got the place cleaned and organized, and the internet is working!

Missy joined him to help with a little painting and Veronica and I worked with him to brainstorm the best ways to make the space perfect for our researcher collaborations and student learning opportunities. We've still got a ways to go, but it sure feels good to get started!
Our archaeologists and researchers have been hard at work this month on our collaborative Shumla and Texas State project. In fact, they are in the canyon as I type working in the extraordinary Halo Shelter!

Next month I'll tell you lots more about what they've been up to. For today, here are a few sneak peek pics of the team in the field. Stay tuned and don't forget, you can come see Halo Shelter for yourself on our December 4th Trek!
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Shumla Archaeological Research & Education Center 
P.O. Box 627, Comstock, TX 78837
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