Here we grow!
It's 2020 and we've hit the ground running with 2 new staff members,
1 chemistry lab intern, 5 sites documented and a 10-chamber plasma oxidation system well on its way to be fully built and ready to be used!
Meet Tim & Audrey!
Tim Murphy enjoyed running during his collegiate career in Track and Field at the University of California, Irvine before pursuing work in archaeology. Soon after, he worked in Cultural Resource Management for three years in California and assisted teaching at field schools with the San Bernardino National Forest and Wind Wolves Preserve. Tim then attended Northern Arizona University for a Master’s Degree in Archaeology studying ancient trails in the Mojave Desert using Geographic Information Systems (GIS). He was invited to work at Shumla Archaeological Research & Education Center after graduating and interned for the fall and winter of 2015. He then accepted an archaeology position on Vandenberg Air Force Base, California with CH2M/Jacobs Engineering and worked there from 2016 to 2019. Before returning back to Shumla in 2020, Tim fulfilled a dream of hiking the Pacific Crest Trail from Mexico to Canada during the summer of 2019.  
Audrey Lindsay grew up in Columbus, Indiana and was always curious about the American West and archaeology. She completed her B.A. in Anthropology at Indiana University and her interest in rock art sparked during a field school visit to the Legend Rock State Petroglyph Site. Audrey then moved across Continental Divide and fell in love with the American West. She studied Lower Pecos rock art and recording frameworks during an internship with Shumla in 2014 for her Masters in Anthropology at Northern Arizona University. She returned to Shumla for a second internship at the end of 2015, before researching and managing rock art at Vandenberg AFB, California until 2019. Audrey is happy to be back with the Shumla team, and looking forward to the year ahead!
Tim and Audrey joined the Shumla family in mid-January as Project Archaeologists. In the short two weeks since, the team has documented 5 rock art sites. Can you imagine just how much we will be able to accomplish in our final year of the Alexandria Project with such a dynamic team!
Here's a few of the sites we were able to document since the new year. Although two out of the five sites didn't bring us beautifully preserved rock art, they help us remember why we do this work.
The 165th site we visited was unfortunately completely under water, just as we suspected it to be. The team boated over to where the site was supposed to be to find silt just a foot below the boat. Unfortunately, this site is completely silted in and unable to be preserved and appreciated by generations to come.
Site 167 was completely flooded when the Amistad Reservoir was built back in 1960s. The team even found evidence of a particular clam at the highest point of this shelter, so you can just imagine how far up the water levels must have reached. Because of this, the pictographs in this shelter are practically unrecognizable. Fortunately with the help of Kirkland's illustrations from the 1930s, we were at least able to decipher which parts of the panel have paint on them.
Kirkland's illustration.
The green line shows the water line.
Regardless of facing some challenges these last few weeks with choppy boat rides and devastating findings, we were able to successfully add 5 rock art sites to our digital catalog and that feels like a huge accomplishment!
We have an incredible team in place to tackle 2020 and continue our preservation efforts.
Interning at Shumla
Chemistry lab intern Rudy Banny is a recent graduate of University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with degrees in Chemistry and Archaeology. He's enjoying working alongside Dr. Karen Steelman in Shumla's Radiocarbon Lab. This dynamic duo has been working towards building our new 10-chamber plasma oxidation system. You may remember reading about the National Science Foundation grant that awarded us the funds to begin this ambitious project in our October newsletter !
Shumla offers internship positions for highly-motivated students looking to challenge themselves mentally, physically, and professionally.   To inquire about available opportunities, please email info@shumla.org .
Hindsight is 20/20
The Alexandria Project is Shumla’s intensive multi-year field project designed to digitally catalog and preserve the ancient paintings in the Lower Pecos Canyonlands of Texas. We have accomplished some incredible things since launch in 2017. Now as we enter into our fourth and final year of this ambitious preservation effort, we have some valuable lessons to reflect on!
Our plan since the project launched has been to work closely with private landowners to respectfully gain access to over 300 sites across the Lower Pecos cultural region. We follow a rigorous scientific research design and data management plan site-by-site to capture and secure image and informational data about these sites forever for all.
Our plan is working! Three years’ experience has taught us only one thing must change ― the number of sites we can realistically reach and document by the end of 2020.

Lesson 1: Our original goal of 300 sites was based on an anticipated 1 to 3 field days and 1 to 2 lab days per site. In reality, many sites, like Fate Bell Shelter, are so large they require up to 10 days in the field and another 10 or more days in the lab.
Lesson 2: After the project began, we realized the importance of sharing the information we had gathered with landowners who gave us access to their property. This resulted in the drafting of Landowner Site Summaries, extending our time per site.
Lesson 3: Other undertakings can affect field work speed, but enhance the quality of the Alexandria Project data, such as:

  • Presenting our research, methods and results at state, national and international conferences for peer review,
  • Drafting peer-reviewed publications of important research that will add to the scholarly dialogue on the archaeology of the region, and
  • Mentoring and training interns through our coveted internship programs in both archaeology and archaeo-chemistry and our field school with Texas State University.
Plan for Successful Project Completion

Bearing these lessons in mind, we have adjusted our site number goal. During our final year of the Alexandria Project we will document 65 more sites to bring our project total to 225. These sites will include 30 sites managed by the National Park Service Amistad National Recreation Area.

The 65 rock art murals we plan to preserve in 2020 include some of the most monumental and important in the region including Panther Cave and Rattlesnake Canyon.

What Happens Next?

At the close of 2020, we will have a “triage” list of 225 rock art panels prioritized by degradation level, research potential and threatened status. Beginning 2021, we will return to these sites in priority order and employ Stage 2 preservation and research tools including digital microscopy, portable x-ray florescence, and digital illustration. As our focus shifts to apply these more intensive techniques to important sites, we will also continue to work with landowners to secure access to conduct baseline documentation at the remaining sites we couldn’t reach during the Alexandria Project. 
We made the
2019 Match!
Thank you to all our supporters who gave so generously and allowed us to not only meet, but surpass, the $100,000 match challenge!

With your help, we raised
Continue your support for Shumla by donating today!
Shumla is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization.
Donations to Shumla are tax-free.
Valentine's Day!
Make a donation in honor of someone you love for Valentine's Day and we will mail a Valentine on your behalf. Shumla.org/donate to make your contribution!

Be sure to designate your donation and include your loved ones address before submitting your donation.
Shumla Archaeological Research & Education Center 
P.O. Box 627, Comstock, TX 78837 USA
enews@shumla.org    432-292-4848     www.shumla.org  
Shumla eNews is a free eNewsletter published by Shumla. 
Copyright © 2019 by Shumla. All Rights Reserved.
Questions and comments can be sent to:  info@shumla.org