March 2017
A Note from the Director

Hello from Vancouver, British Columbia! I am here "on location" reporting from the 82nd Annual Society for American Archaeology (SAA) Meetings. 

It's hard to describe the pride that I feel as I watch the Shumla team present our ground-breaking research to our esteemed peers in the field of archaeology. Events like these and the opportunity they provide to present our methods and findings for peer critique and collaboration are pivotal to any scientific endeavor. Its doesn't hurt that we get to be a part of it all in beautiful Vancouver.

Yesterday, Carolyn accepted the SAA Scholarly Book Award for her publication The White Shaman Mural: An Enduring Creation Narrative in the Lower Pecos Canyonlands of Texas. This award is a wonderful endorsement of Carolyn's research and discoveries by the leaders in our field. It is a very important recognition of the contribution she's made to the field of archaeology by demonstrating that ancient art can be studied and interpreted using strong scientific methods and that this effort can contribute greatly to our understanding of past cultures and belief systems. We could not be happier for her or prouder to have traveled with her on her trail-blazing journey of discovery.

Below you will find pictures from our jam-packed time at the SAA conference over the last three days. We head back to Texas tomorrow!

In next month's eNewsletter, we'll share the results of the Alexandria Project Pilot completed just before coming to Vancouver. It was a very fruitful experience that will hone our research design for the coming three years of intensive field work.

In the meantime, back to archaeological sessions by the beautiful water of Vancouver Harbor and in view of the snow-capped mountains...being an archaeologist is so rough...

All the very best,
Shumla Executive Director

Investigating the Ten-Millenia Record of Hunter-Gatherer Lifeways in the Northeastern Chihuahuan Desert Symposium - hosted by Charles Keonig, Ancient Southwest Texas Project. Pictured top left around to bottom left: Karen Steelman, Ken Lawrence, Kevin Hansleka, Amanda Castaneda, Jerod Roberts, Kim Cox, Steve Black, Charles Koenig, Carolyn Boyd, Vicky Roberts, Ashley Busby, Marie Desroches, and Victoria Pagano.

Passports Ready! 
Shumla in Vancouver 
Images of Shumla's Superstars at 
The Society for American Archaeology Conference. 

Julio Amador Bech (UNAM), Polly Schaafsma, Carolyn Boyd, Bob Mark, and Evelyn Billo heading to sessions.

Carolyn Boyd, Karen Steelman and Jessica Lee enjoy a happy hour at the hotel.

Canada Place in the Vancouver Convention Center, the site of the SAA.

Jessica Lee, Karen Steelman, Carolyn Boyd, Jerod Roberts, Vicky Roberts, Ashley Busby before the Thursday night presentation session.

Vicky Roberts presents on Shumla's Rattlesnake Canyon research.

Carolyn Boyd presents on the Burning Water couplet metaphor in Lower Pecos rock art.

Ashley Busby presents on spatial complexity in the pictographs of the Lower Pecos.

Jerod Roberts presents on the results of the Alexandria Project Pilot funded in part by National Geographic.

Shumla and our friends celebrating after a fantastic session.

The team, including Dr. Carolyn Tate, Olmec art historian at Texas Tech, at our Alexandria Project Think Tank.

Julio Amador Bech shares his thoughts on the data collection plan and research design for the Alexandria Project.

Elton Prewitt, Nancy Kenmotsu and Carolyn Boyd.

UT Press Editor Casey Kittrell and Carolyn Boyd showing off the SAA award-winning book.

Carolyn Boyd accepts her SAA Scholarly Book Award.

Such an amazing accomplishment.

Kim Cox, contributor to the White Shaman Mural book, smiles with Carolyn after the award reception.
Spotlight on  Judge Ken Law

Shumla's Newest Member of the Board of Directors

Judge Ken Law is a very welcome addition to Shumla's Board of Directors. He was a p ast president, board member and committee chair of the now-disbanded Rock Art Foundation. He has a deep love of the region's art and an abiding commitment to it's preservation. He's also a skilled and experienced lawyer and judge, adding a needed legal adviser to our number.

I asked Ken to share a bit about how he first encountered this region and it's art. In true Ken Law fashion, his response was unique and engaging in it's story-telling. So, I will include it here as written. 

"I was conned into seeing the rock art by a friend. In 1998, he repeatedly asked me to go to the Rock Art Foundation Annual Rendezvous and I kept refusing. I told him that I had already seen the miserable desert around Comstock, and everything on it had a horn, a thorn, a hoof, a tooth or a stinger, the canyons were impossible to hike, and the whole place should be returned to Mexico. I missed the Rendezvous that year. He kept up the harassment and managed to get me to go on a tour the next February, in 1999. He also let me pick the tour, so I picked the most difficult one with the intention of walking him to death while the desert otherwise destroyed him so that he would shut up about it--welcome to Presa Canyon. 
We departed on the Presa Canyon tour with the most challenging group of people you could imagine, consisting mostly of two probation officers and 14 pre-teen girls from the youth program in Blanco County. Amazingly, and notwithstand the other tour members, by the time we reached the end of Fate Bell, I was completely hooked. The rock art, and its transcendent message filled me with a fascination I have never lost. By the end of the tour I was exhausted, but completely committed to see and find out more. The next morning, we ran into Jim Zintgraff and he took me on a personal tour of the White Shaman, furthering my obsession. 
I became a rock art guide, joined the board of the RAF, eventually served as President and traveled to the Lower Pecos at every opportunity. I read everything I could find and asked a thousand dumb questions. I met Carolyn Boyd over 10 years ago and became a loyal follower of her work. Watching Shumla rise out of the desert dust and become a respected institution has filled me with admiration and I am beyond flattered to serve on the board."

Thank you, Ken, for pledging your service to Shumla and the preservation of the art of the Lower Pecos! 

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