Note from  the Director

October is Texas Archaeology Month 

Every October Shumla participates in and leads outreach programs to educate people of all ages about the incredible cultural resources of Texas. Here's a few snapshots of our busy month of outreach. We'll share more about each program in this edition of the Shumla  eNewsletter. You'll also find updates on our Summerlee Foundation matching campaign and the Alexandria Project! 

Thank you for joining us on this journey.

All the best,

Children try their hand at painting pebbles like the People of the Pecos at TARL Archeology Fair in Austin.
Jerod leads a tour at a rock art site on the Devil's River.

Board Member, Elton Prewitt, chats with Anthony Bourdain about the sophistication of the ancient People of the Pecos on the CNN hit  Parts Unknown.


High Five!

We're moving on up!

Many of you have responded to the call and we are $5,000 closer to making the match. If you haven't contributed toward Shumla's work yet this year, please consider making a gift. 

Your gift will be matched by the Summerlee Foundation!
TARL Archeology Fair

Last weekend, Shumla staff traveled to Austin to help celebrate Texas Archeology Month at the annual fair hosted by the Texas Archeological Research Laboratory. Despite the call for rain, hundreds gathered to learn more about the amazing cultural resources found across the state! At Shumla's booth, kids got to try their hand at painting like the ancient people with paint they learned to mix themselves.

Jerod  describes the use of animal fat as one of the key ingredients to a smooth-applying paint. Unlike the prehistoric peoples of Texas, we were able to get lard from our local store.

Amanda  describes that mixing water, pigment, and fat together won't work unless you add an emulsifier. The ancient people likely used plants like yucca, sotol, or lechuguilla for this. In our case, dish soap is a good substitute.

Elton Prewitt, Victoria Pagano, Jerod Roberts, Amanda Castaneda and Nancy Castaneda volunteered at Shumla's painted pebble station.

While there were examples of Lower Pecos painted pebbles on the table, some kids decided to paint images that had special meaning to them (just like the ancient people did!).

Making the Unknown Known

In addition to our normal October outreach activities, we were able to get our message out to a much wider audience through the invitation by CNN to be featured on Anthony Bourdain's  Parts Unknown  final season. 

In this fifth of seven final episodes of "rock-star chef" Anthony Bourdain's hit show, West Texas got its day in the limelight. The ancient people of the Pecos were highlighted  through their paintings at the Witte Museum's Rock Art Foundation White Shaman Preserve and through Shumla's Carolyn Boyd and Elton Prewitt's descriptions amidst other West Texas borderland stories of family, tradition, celebration and of course food and drink. The show  premiered on October 21. 

The staff at Shumla felt very fortunate to meet and interact with "Tony" and his whole crew during the filming of this show shortly before his tragic suicide. We met a group of very dedicated and talented people, passionate about sharing the beauty and the grit of different cultures, food, and walks of life from all around the world. It's a passion we share. We wish them all the best as they continue that work.

Alexandria Project Discoveries!

The weather broke for one week this month and the team was able to get out to a property for a scouting trip with the landowners. While walking to a site, the team decided to check out a small overhang, "just in case", and their suspicion paid off! This previously unrecorded rock art site has a few Pecos River Style figures, including a small anthropomorph! The landowners were thrilled and could not believe they had walked past the site hundreds of times without seeing it. You never know until you look!

The Alexandria Project Team tackles
Fate Bell

The incessant rain experienced across Texas in September and October didn't spare the desert regions. We weren't able to be in the field on our normal schedule for many weeks. But, the silver-lining is that it offered us the ability to prioritize the documentation of one of the most frequently-visited and well-known sites in the Lower Pecos (that also happens to have a large overhang under which we could work in the streaming rain), Fate Bell Shelter

It's an ENORMOUS site that contains well-preserved deposits of fiber and other perishable artifacts. The main attraction at Fate Bell, however, is the rock art that covers nearly 600 feet of shelter wall. It has taken the team nearly two full weeks in the field to complete documentation. 

In order for Shumla to document the art at Fate Bell, we received special permission from Texas Parks and Wildlife to venture off the trail mats that protect the site's fragile deposits and get close up to the shelter wall.

Our excitement to be "off the mats" was only exceeded by our excitement to find figures we never knew existed. Below you see D-stretch enhanced photographs of several large Pecos River Style figures painted on the ceiling. We identified  at least three feline figures in this area of the panel, two of which are depicted with red dots within the bodies, possibly jaguars !

As we continue to process gigapanoramas  and SfM 3D models we will upload these to our GigaPan and Sketchfab  pages. And stay tuned for a blog post highlighting more cool things we have identified at Fate Bell.
A Visit from Leadership Del Rio

The Leadership Del Rio program offers a unique curriculum designed to promote present & future leaders of Del Rio. The group  visited the Shumla offices last week to learn about the rock art of the Lower Pecos and the work of our organization. They also met with our partners at Amistad National Recreation Area and Seminole Canyon State Park. New Mayor of Del Rio Bruno "Ralphy" Lozano was with them and it was a pleasure to introduce him and the whole group to the cultural resources of our incredible home.   


American Eagle will begin flights to Del Rio from DFW Airport on November 4, 2018. Plan a visit to one of the most beautiful and unique landscapes in our state!

The land, the art, the team, the mission. 

Shumla in Action
Watch Shumla in action.

Shumla Archaeological Research & Education Center 
P.O. Box 627, Comstock, TX 78837 USA
enews@shumla.org    432-292-4848     www.shumla.org 
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