January 2022
Hello Friends!

Welcome to the first Shumla eNewsletter of 2022. We had a lovely break over the holiday and have been back in the office, laboratory and field for a few weeks now.

It's not hard to come back from holiday when you love what you do... and we do!

We hope you and yours had a safe and happy holiday as well and that you are back in the swing of things, ready for a great year!
Happy New Year!
Jessica and all of us at Shumla
Shumla documented a total of 235 rock art sites during the Alexandria Project and amassed more than 25 terabytes (TB) of digital data. This dataset, the Alexandria Project Archive, includes high-resolution gigapanorama imagery, 3D models, rock art panel photographs, descriptive photo logs, site maps, panel maps, and a searchable Rock Art Site Form (RASF) database.

One of our main goals is to provide secure access to the Alexandria Project Archive to researchers who will join us in unlocking its mysteries. There's so much to explore in this massive visual, iconographic, and spatial rock art dataset!
The first step is data preparation. This process ensures that each file and the entire Alexandria Project Archive is properly prepared with consistent file and folder naming conventions, checks for data accuracy and completeness, and creation of individual site metadata documents. Audrey Lindsay and Tim Murphy have been living and breathing "data prep" lately.

What does this process involve? We go through every single data file for each documented site. Once all the selected the files for the site are checked and prepared, we copy the data onto Shumla’s dedicated curation server for digital safekeeping.

We started data preparation in the Fall 2021 and as of the end of last week, we've completed 180 out of the total 235 sites. We’re in the homestretch now!
It may not seem as exciting as field work. But if we didn't curate the data, then the field work would be worth nothing at all. Field work and data management/curation go hand in hand. Our incredible team tackles the data work with as much enthusiasm as the field work and we sure are grateful. Well done, team!
Many thanks to Mario Gonzalez at Weaver Consultants! He tirelessly set up and tested our new, dedicated curation server to securely house the Alexandria Project Archive. We’re so grateful for his expertise and attention to detail. Stay tuned for more updates on the Alexandria Project Archive as we round the finish line to curation.
We're back in the saddle again! Halo Shelter field work is complete and work in Panther Cave is about to begin!

Planning for Panther Cave field work requires even more effort because the site is almost impossible to access due to low lake levels. It will take some doing, but we have obtained permission to take a small, hearty crew into the shelter.

Fascinated by field work? So are we! In Dr. Phil Dering's latest Hearthstone Project Blog Post, he talks about tricks of the archaeological field work trade. And shares some exciting findings that resulted from our 14 days in Halo Shelter.
What have our Scholars been up to? Every day is a new and exciting lesson in science, technology and art.

Vicky Roberts taught the Shumla Scholars how to use a compass to measure their pace. Then they had to apply this skill to a mapping challenge. No phones allowed! They used their newly learned wayfinding skills to lead her around the school.
Another day had the students experimenting with making paint like the ancient people of the Pecos in order to better understand the process as a whole. Without any instruction, they were provided with lard, pigment, soap, and water and asked to experiment with mixing the ingredients to see how they impacted the overall paint quality. Afterwards, they each painted something that was meaningful to them. Most of the students chose to find a piece of limestone and paint on that surface. They then considered how different paint mixtures worked when used.
On another day, Missy Harrington, Dr. Rolón, and Dr. Steelman teamed up to walk through the paint making process again with the Shumla Scholars, but this time with traditional paint ingredients - yucca root and fat from a deer leg!

The Scholars had to figure out how to get the fatty marrow out of the deer leg bone. Then they dug up the root of a yucca plant, peeled the dirt away and soaked the spongey root to create the sudsy water that breaks up the animal fat to create the oil based paint. Lots of chemistry goes into paint-making and a lot of hard work too!
Talk about hands-on experience! It's so exciting to watch as the students learn skills that build the foundational understanding of chemistry, physics, mapping and technology these kids will need in their next phases of life.
Crush your New Year's resolutions with a new unforgettable experience! We are excited to share the rock art of the Lower Pecos with you. Visit shumla.org/shumlatreks to view our Trek itineraries for March, April and May. You’ll also find information on costs, exertion level, transportation and housing.
March Treks
  • March 19: Eagle Cave, Skiles Shelter, Kelley Cave, Judge Roy Bean
  • March 20: Vinegarroon Camp and Pecos-Rio Grande Overlook
April Treks
  • April 09: Meyers Springs Panel and Historic Site
  • April 23: Vaquero Shelter and Painted Shelter
  • April 24: Fate Bell Annex, Fate Bell Shelter and Running Horse
May Treks
  • May 14: Halo Shelter and the Devils River
  • May 28: Black Cave and Vaquero Shelter
  • May 29: Fate Bell Annex, Fate Bell Shelter and Running Horse
If you have any questions or if there is anything holding you back from joining a Trek, please reach out to talk with us about it. We can't wait to hear from you! treks@shumla.org
Back by popular demand!
We are starting our FREE Lunch & Learn Series for 2022.

Our first Lunch and Learn of 2022 will be shared by Shumla Executive Director, Jessica Hamlin, entitled "The Skill and Genius of the Ancient Artists." This Lunch & Learn is a repeat of a favorite from last year. In it, Jessica will take us back in time to when the rock art was painted. She'll share some of what we now know about the skill and genius behind these masterpieces. She'll reveal our plans for learning much more about the remarkable ancient artists. And there will definitely be time for questions. We can't wait to see you there!

Once you've registered, you'll receive an email confirmation with a Zoom link for the event. We will send a reminder email on the day of the event.
Love what we do?
Shumla Archaeological Research & Education Center 
P.O. Box 627, Comstock, TX 78837
Shumla eNews is a free eNewsletter published by Shumla. 
Copyright © 2021 by Shumla. All Rights Reserved.