Caw Caw!

That's "Happy Halloween" in Raven... We had our neighborhood Halloween party on Saturday before this deep chill fell reminding us that winter is on its way.

October is always one of Shumla's busiest months of the year. October is Texas Archaeology Month. We attend the Texas Archaeological Society (TAS) Conference and host our Rancher Steward BBQ. This year we hosted a symposium on the Hearthstone Project at the TAS meetings and celebrated our 25th anniversary with an annular eclipse at our campus West of the Pecos. Learn more about these programs below.

Before you scroll down, we have some terrific news to share. Our fundraising campaign is progressing wonderfully. We're over 60% to our goal! You've given a remarkable $156,068 so far! We are confident we can achieve our 25th anniversary goal of $250,000. Please join us and support Shumla!

Every dollar you contribute brings us one step closer in our effort to preserve and research the incredible art of the Lower Pecos region. Thank you for being part of this journey with us.

Thank you for being here,


Please Support Shumla


This month we were pleased to once again bring together our community landowners and agency stewards for our annual Rancher Steward BBQ.

Each year we recognize one family, individual or agency who has gone above and beyond to partner with us in the preservation of the rock art. This year's awardee has been a beloved friend to Shumla since 2006 and is Amistad National Recreation Area's very own, Jack Johnson!

We kicked off the day with fun at the photobooth.

We caught up with our Lower Pecos community.

And of course, we threw spears with atlatls, even while holding our youngest participant yet!

Rancher Steward wouldn't be what it is without a delicious feast! Thank you to Board Members Lacy Finley and Mike Webb, as well as Guadalupe Robles, Rosie Phillips, and Becky Pendergrass for cooking up a BBQ spread to remember. And thank you to Patrick and Amy Zuberbueler's bakery, Betty & Bobby's Cakes, Cookies and Pastries, for providing us with birthday cupcakes!

The real showstopper of the day was the annular "Ring of Fire" solar eclipse we witnessed together. This unique experience left us with a sense of connection with each other and the world around us. Many wondered what it would have been like for our ancestors to experience this very thing on this very land.

Thank you to all the ranchers, landowners, and agency stewards who care for this land and its treasure of ancient rock art together with us!

Event made possible in part by Humanities Texas. Thank you!


Our team had the honor of attending and hosting a symposium at the Texas Archeological Society Annual Conference in San Marcos, Texas earlier this month. Our symposium: The Hearthstone Project: Technical History, Timing, and Meaning in Pecos River Style Pictographs, where we discussed in great detail our comprehensive study of Pecos River style pictographs in the Lower Pecos Canyonlands of Texas. 


The Hearthstone Project, a collaboration project with Texas State University, is a comprehensive study of Pecos River style pictographs in the Lower Pecos Canyonlands of Texas. The main goals are to study the technical history of the murals, to decode the symbols contained therein, and to establish a chronology that includes timing the introduction of core motifs. Using photography, digital microscopy, digital renderings, stratigraphic and formal art analysis, radiocarbon dating, and ethnographic interviews, we are documenting the artists’ methods and meanings, demonstrating that the murals are a rich source of accessible information about the people who produced them. Results show that Pecos River style pictographs date between 1,350 and 5,500 years ago. We assert that the murals relate widespread, ancient mythological concepts that persist within Native American belief systems today. The symposium explains our methods and presents the initial findings of this research.


  • Dr. J. Phil Dering – Texas State University, Karen L. Steelman - Shumla Archaeological Research & Education Center, and Carolyn E. Boyd - Texas State University. From Small Groups Come Big Stories: The Archaeological Context of Pecos River Style Art.

  • David Keim, Seamus Anderson, and Diana Radillo Rolón – Shumla Archaeological Research & Education Center. Mapping Artistic Layers: The Painting Sequence of Pecos River Style Murals.

  • Seamus Anderson – Shumla Archaeological Research & Education Center, J. Phil Dering – Texas State University, and Carolyn E. Boyd – Texas State University. Brushstrokes of the Past: Unraveling Pecos River Style Murals with Harris Matrix Composer.

  • Dr. Karen L. Steelman – Shumla Archaeological Research & Education Center, Carolyn E. Boyd – Texas State University, J. Phil Dering – Texas State University. The Hearthstone Project: Radiocarbon Dates for Pecos River Style Pictographs.

  • Dr. Carolyn E. Boyd – Texas State University, Diana Radillo Rolón – Shumla Archaeological Research & Education Center, Paul Schottmueller – Texas State University, J. Phil Dering – Texas State University. Origins and Tenacity of Myth, Ritual, and Cosmology in Pecos River Style Rock Art.

  • Katie Wilson – Shumla Archaeological Research & Education Center, Jessica Hamlin - Shumla Archaeological Research & Education Center. Public Outreach & the Hearthstone Project: Shumla’s Commitment to Public Engagement

  • Symposium Discussion: Q&A 30 minutes. Moderator: Jessica Hamlin – Shumla Archaeological Research & Education Center

Thanks to all who joined us! It was great to be there with colleagues and friends!


September 2023 – Archaeology Magazine

"New research has shown that human figures painted in red on a rock art panel in central Montana depict individuals engaged in a life-or-death encounter during an especially fraught historical moment.” This article written by Eric A. Powell describes the dating project Dr. Karen Steelman conducted with Larry Loendorf in the Shumla lab. Click below to read the full article!

Read More


The year may be coming to an end, but there are still plenty of opportunities to come Trek the Lower Pecos with Shumla! Join us on of our archaeologist-led Treks to witness the "beauty and mystical experience of seeing the paintings" as one of our former Trekkers expressed.

Immerse yourself in history and adventure and come experience the magic of the Lower Pecos with us!

View our Full Trek Schedule
Download our Fall Trek Schedule

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.


In November's Lunch and Learn, Jessica will take us under the hood of Shumla. Travel through Shumla’s greatest achievements, most difficult moments and the discoveries that changed everything. This presentation in FREE on Zoom.

25 Years of Shumla:

The Good, the Bad and the Stunning

Jessica Hamlin, MA, Shumla Executive Director

Wednesday, November 15, 2023

Noon – 1 p.m. Central Time

Register Today!

View some of our previous Lunch & Learn presentations on our YouTube channel.

We are constantly updating, so be sure to check back if you don't see a certain presentation.

Your Gift Fuels Preservation. Give today!

Shumla Archaeological Research & Education Center 

P.O. Box 627, Comstock, TX 78837

[email protected] | shumla.org 


Facebook  Twitter  Instagram  Linkedin  Youtube  


LinkedIn Share This Email

Shumla eNews is a free eNewsletter published by Shumla. 

Copyright © 2023 by Shumla. All Rights Reserved.