Hello friends,

July is ending and we're heading toward the fall in a year that has moved impossibly fast. It will be a while until the heat truly lets up, but we're already dreaming about field work in cooler weather and the fall Shumla Treks. Some Treks are filling up, so be sure to check out the Fall Schedule and find the one that fires your imagination. Then you can join us in looking forward to the gorgeous days of fall in the Lower Pecos.

Our monthly Lunch and Learn is a great way to visit Shumla from the comfort of your home (and air conditioning). Next month I'll be presenting on "What's Next For Shumla." Sometimes I'm asked, "When will you be finished?" It's a fair question. Unlike many non-profits, Shumla's mission seems like something that might, someday, be complete. In this our 25th Anniversary year, it's a perfect time to look farther into the future and share our go-forward plan. I can't wait to talk with you about it on Wednesday, August 16 at 12:00 Central time, on Zoom. Click here to register to join me!

Until then, wishing you the best,


The summer heat can’t keep us inside for long!


This month, Shumla’s research team conducted Hearthstone Project field work at two sites near the Devils River. The scope of work involved field microscopy to reveal the order in which the paint was applied to the wall, as well as determining the age of the paintings by radiocarbon dating. 

The team spent three days at these two rock art sites conducting on-site analyses. This requires weeks of prior planning, as well as weeks of analysis back in the computer and chemistry laboratories. Shumla is proud of our dedicated team. We are making good progress on this long-term research project and can’t wait to share the results of our studies in the months to come!

Rudy Banny, Archaeological Chemist extraordinaire, is heading to Chicago to pursue a museum career. Rudy returned to Shumla after an internship in 2020. He has been working for a year in Shumla’s Archaeological Chemistry Laboratory processing paint samples for plasma oxidation and AMS radiocarbon dating. He has also been an integral part of the field team, helping to collect samples and data at rock art sites. 

One of his greatest contributions was being the primary instructor of the Shumla Scholars program for the Comstock ISD senior class for 2022-2023, sharing his passion for science and archaeology with the community.

We wish Rudy the best in his next adventure. We're so grateful for his work ethic, his many contributions toward our mission and his dedication to preserving and studying the rock art of the Lower Pecos Canyonlands.

Thank you, Rudy!

Shumla recently hosted a group of researchers and students from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) in England. Shumla staff spent two days with the group hiking with them to Lower Pecos rock art sites. This type of professional exchange is important for Shumla’s archaeologists and researchers. We learn about research from other study areas and institutions, as well as share our own advances in methodology and findings. 

Led by Dr. David Robinson, the UCLan group made a stop here in Comstock on their way to conduct field work in California. Dr. Robinson studies archaeology in the region near Bakersfield in cooperation with the Tejon Indian Tribe of California. He specializes in using virtual reality (VR) technology for sharing experiences with tribal members. Virtually he takes them to Chumash rock art sites that are in hard to access locations and allows them to hold basketry in museum collections. This VR experience has also been used as public education at the Wildlands Conservancy's Wind Wolves Preserve, where many of the sites he studies are located.

Karen Steelman met Dr. Robinson at a conference in Spain last October, where they were both invited speakers. Their continued professional dialog resulted in this visit, as well as a planned collaboration to radiocarbon date Chumash rock paintings. Karen traveled with the UCLan crew to California to conduct field work and a radiocarbon workshop for the Wind Wolves Preserve staff and tribal members. We look forward to our continued professional exchange!

Do you live in Comstock or Del Rio and have a love of books and helping out?

Missy Harrington is Shumla's Librarian and Technical Editor. She has kept Shumla's library at our Harrington Campus meticulously organized for many years. We've gotten some recent donations and could use your help. If you're interested, please contact Karen Steelman at ksteelman@shumla.org.

Standing in front of an ancient mural...

Full Shumla Trek Schedule

Fall 2023

September Treks

Virtual Trek to Panther Cave at Shumla HQ and Visit to Panther Cave Overlook

Saturday, September 9

Painted Shelter and Vaquero Shelter

Sunday, September 24

October Treks

Los Vientos and Sunburst Shelter

Saturday, October 28

Black Cave and Vaquero Shelter

Sunday, October 29

November Treks

Eagle Cave, Skiles Shelter, Kelley Cave

Saturday, November 4

Vinegarroon Historic Railroad Camp

Sunday, November 5

Meyers Springs Shelter and Historic Site

Saturday, November 18

Fate Bell, Fate Bell Annex, and Running Horse Shelters

Sunday, November 19

December Treks

Virtual Trek to Panther Cave at Shumla HQ and Visit to Panther Cave Overlook

Saturday, December 2

Tell me more about the new Virtual Trek to Panther Cave?

It is impossible to get to Panther Cave in person right now. However, Shumla has high-resolution images, 3D models and close-ups. It's the next best thing to being there.

When you join the Virtual Panther Cave trek:

  • In the morning, a Shumla Archaeologist will guide you through a virtual tour of Panther Cave and give you a close-up view of the figures that fill the 80-meter-long panel. You’ll also get a behind-the-scenes tour of Shumla's HQ and one-of-a-kind plasma oxidation laboratory. Then we'll have lunch together at J&P Bar and Grill in Comstock.
  • After lunch, we’ll head over to Seminole Canyon State Park and participate in one of their Van-tastic Tours to the overlook where you can glimpse the Panther Cave mural from across the canyon. Binoculars are recommended for optimal viewing.

This is a great option if you:

  1. Are interested in Shumla’s digital preservation methods,
  2. Want to see rock art but can't or would rather not hike into the canyons.

Both Shumla HQ and the Van-tastic van are air-conditioned, so we will stay nice and cool, even if the weather is warm.

Gift a unique Shumla Trek experience to someone special. Purchase a Treks Gift Voucher, on our website. Your recipient can then choose their trek and pay with the voucher.

We're not here if you're not with us.

We have an incredible team and a clear vision for what's to come. With your support we can continue vital preservation, life-changing education and epic discoveries. Please support Shumla with a gift today!

Support Shumla

Shumla Archaeological Research & Education Center 

P.O. Box 627, Comstock, TX 78837

info@shumla.org | shumla.org 


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