July 2021
Hello Friends!

I know it's hard to imagine in this 100 degree malaise that we will want to spend any amount of time outside in the near future.

Take heart! Cool breezes will come again and when they do, you'll wish you were in a breath-taking canyon, staring in wonder at a 4,000 year old masterwork of global cultural significance. Coincidentally, that's an experience we offer! Come Trek with us!

We are so excited about our Fall Shumla Trek schedule. We can't wait to meet you and to show you the images we are privileged to preserve and study. Don't let the time slip away. Register today!

Wishing you and yours all the best,
On July 1, 2021, Shumla and the Comstock community lost a dear friend, Walker Boyd.

If you visited Comstock between 2006 and 2015, you likely witnessed a tall gentleman in suspenders, high on a ladder, hard at work renovating one of the dilapidated houses dotting the town. Walker was a dervish of joy and energy, making every building (and every heart) he touched better.

Walker moved to Comstock after a long career in the petro-chemical industry, ranching and historic restoration to be near his daughter Dr. Carolyn Boyd. Shumla was still a fledgling organization and his energy and enthusiasm was such a gift not only to Carolyn, but to all of the community.

Walker's generosity and service to Shumla was constant and unwavering. He built the library bookcases, he furnished and donated significantly to the construction of the campus Bookhouse. He donated all the houses he renovated in Comstock to Shumla to house our employees, interns and visitors. His footprint at Shumla, in Comstock and in our hearts is deep.

We will miss him and continue to remember him daily when we pass all of "Walker's houses".
Carolyn's family have requested that in lieu of gifts and flowers, a donation be made to Shumla in Walker's memory.
If you'd like to know more about Walker's truly incredible life, click below to read his thoughtful obituary.
A. Walker Boyd

NAVASOTA, TEXAS - Mr. A. Walker Boyd of Navasota, Texas ended a long and productive life, surrounded by family and friends, at his son's home in Galveston, Texas on July 1st, 2021. Walker passed away at age 92, survived by his four children...

Read more
Earlier this month the Shumla staff was visited by husband and wife duo Terry Sayther and Debbie Stuart. Terry Sayther's passion for Mexican cave exploration and rock art resulted in an impressive collection of maps, reports, journals, books and slides, which he has graciously given to Shumla! We are honored to receive this gift from them.

Karen Steelman, Shumla's Science Director, was especially happy to meet Terry and Debbie since hearing so much about their travels to Mexico from her mentor Marvin Rowe and friend Margaret Berrier. Because of their generosity we now have some invaluable information about sites in Mexico. One particularly exciting item in their collection is J. Charles Kelley's copy of the 1938 book titled Picture-Writing of Texas Indians by A.T. Jackson that he signed over to Terry!

Thank you Terry and Debbie from all of us at Shumla!
Karen Steelman and Carolyn Boyd are awarded a second National Science Foundation grant!

For those following along these past couple of years, you know that in 2019 Karen Steelman received a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to build a 10-chamber plasma oxidation system for Shumla's chemistry lab. With this grant and with the help of some incredible interns, Karen has built a plasma oxidation system capable of preparing TEN rock art samples for radiocarbon dating at one time!
This second 2021 NSF grant is a collaborative project with Texas State University and will be be focused on chronological modeling and pictograph stratigraphy. Combining the innovative plasma oxidation and AMS dating technique with detailed microscopic and figure studies of the murals, Karen and Carolyn will work to establish a chronology for Pecos River Style rock art.

The ability to place the production of the rock art on a reliable chronological timeline allows the images to be studied alongside excavated materials from the same time period. Incorporating rock art studies with other archaeological specialties is crucial to the holistic study of past cultures.

As we know, the prehistoric foragers of the Lower Pecos Canyonlands produced iconography every bit as symbolically complex as that of the large-scale urban Mesoamerican civilizations. This project will contribute to understanding of hunter-gatherer complexity and specifically the development of cosmology and ideology. The research will be ground-breaking and applicable to other archaeologists and rock art researchers working around the world.

Lots more to come on this project as it unfolds. Stay tuned!!
Book your Shumla Trek Today!

Whether you are looking for a day Trek or a weekend long adventure, scroll below to see the many options we have available for registration. You will learn about the history of the Lower Pecos rock art and hike the beautiful canyonlands of the region!
September Treks
  • September 04 - Fate Bell Shelter and Running Horse
  • September 05 - Halo Shelter and the Devils River
  • September 18 - Black Cave and Sword Shelter
  • September 19 - Vaquero Shelter and Painted Shelter
Halo Shelter
Running Horse
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
Meyers Springs
Vaquero Shelter
November Shumla Treks
  • November 06 - Eagle Cave, Skiles Shelter, and Kelley Cave
  • November 07 - Black Cave and Vaquero Shelter
  • November 26 - Fate Bell Shelter and Running Horse
  • November 27 - Halo Shelter and Shumla HQ Tour
If you love us, let us know by supporting us.
You make all of this possible.
Shumla Archaeological Research & Education Center 
P.O. Box 627, Comstock, TX 78837
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