Dear Friends,


Thanksgiving has come and gone. We hope you felt the love and gratitude we feel for you from here in the Lower Pecos Canyonlands. Today is "Giving Tuesday", a designation created in 2012 in response to the spending of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. The goal each year is to encourage generosity and support charities making a difference in our world. 70 countries across the globe now celebrate Giving Tuesday.

If you plan to give this Giving Tuesday, please consider a gift to Shumla's preservation and educational programming. Scroll to read more in particular, about our Shumla Scholars program and the Hearthstone Project. We are only $35,000 away from our goal of $200,000 for 2022. Your gift means so much to us.

All the best from all of us,


Click to support Shumla on Giving Tuesday

Last time we caught up with the Hearthstone Project team, they were in the field at Fate Bell Shelter. Since then, we have focused our Hearthstone Project efforts primarily in the lab, preparing samples for radiocarbon dating, developing renderings for our audience with the Huichol people, and staring for hours at microphotographs of paint layers to determine paint stratigraphy. (Thank you, Seamus and Diana!)

In our newest edition of the Hearthstone Project Blog, Phil Dering shares the important reason behind this scientific determination process, as well as our method. You'll be amazed at how much we can learn and how in depth this study goes!

In the Lab: Determining Paint Stratigraphy

In ancient societies, the process of producing art carried as much meaning as the finished product. This is why we seek to discover how the Pecos River style murals were painted. At the White Shaman site, Carolyn Boyd encountered two puzzles that previous research had overlooked.

Click for the latest Hearthstone Project blog

As the year comes to a close, so too does our Fall semester with the Shumla Scholars. What a semester it’s been! The Scholars have been working with our Archaeological Chemist Rudy Banny to learn all about the art, archaeology, and chemistry studied here at Shumla.

This year’s Shumla Scholars! Pictured left to right: Jaiden Sanchez, Angie Medina, Juliette Majors, Shannon McDowell, Yari Pena, Isela Chavez, and Freddie Terrones. Accompanied by our very own Rudy Banny, and the students’ high school teacher Mr. Cody Hardin.

They started out strong, going all the way back 15,000 years ago to the first human migrations into the Americas, and more specifically into the Lower Pecos Canyonlands. As they delved into the lifeways of these ancient peoples, the students got some hands-on experience with atlatls, the hunting tool of choice before the bow and arrow.

Every year the Scholars miss us- but their aim is getting better! Those atlatls really come in handy!

Their studies led the Scholars to The Bank and Trust in Del Rio to see the exhibit showcasing the incredible collection of artifacts donated by Jack and Wilmuth Skiles*, including many of the types of stone tools and woven goods they’d been reading about.

*See Wilmuth Skiles rememberance below.

Thanks to The Bank and Trust and Val Verde County Library in Del Rio, as well as to our Science Director Dr. Karen Steelman for joining us on this trip!

This was followed up by a fantastic talk by archaeologist Jack Johnson at the Val Verde County Library, where they got to see faithful modern recreations of those very same stone tools and woven goods!

Now with a firm understanding of the Lower Pecos way of life over the past thousands of years, these seniors were finally ready to tackle the rock art itself! A hands-on paint-making demo kicked off their study of ancient rock art, followed soon after by a field trip to Seminole Canyon State Park and Historic Site to see the Fate Bell archaeological site.

These students rock! They made paint like pros and hiked all day in Seminole Canyon to see some amazing art.

The students are having a blast learning all about the magnificent rock art of the Lower Pecos and the cultures responsible for it. Fingers crossed that we’ll get to check out another site before the semester ends! In the Spring: the science of radiocarbon dating in the Shumla Archaeological Chemistry Laboratory. The students have already gotten a bit of a head start exploring the new stereo microscopes to examine the layers on a sample in the lab!

The Shumla Board and staff were saddened to hear of the passing of Wilmuth Skiles on November 21, 2023.


A devoted wife, mother, grandmother, teacher, mentor and friend to many, Wilmuth was a steadfast advocate and supporter for the study of the lifeways of ancient Texans, and the protection of lands they occupied in Langtry and the surrounding area.


Wilmuth and her husband, Jack, who passed away in 2020, were integral parts of the communities of Langtry and Comstock, sharing their insights, wisdom and dedication to family and life-long learning with everyone they met.


Her smiling presence will be missed by so many who knew and cared for her. We send our condolences to the entire Skiles family. Click here to read Wlimuth's obituary.

Each year, Rio Grande Electric Cooperative and its energy partners, serving Comstock and surrounding counties, team up to provide grants to deserving organizations in Co-op Country.

In September, Shumla was the recipient of a Sharing Success grant of $1,000. The grant provided partial funding for Fall activities for Shumla Scholars and the Rancher Steward BBQ. The Shumla staff and Board are grateful to RGEC for its support.

Be on the look out for our 2023 Shumla Treks and Lunch & Learn line up! We plan to begin posting the schedules on our website in early December.

Experiences like a Shumla Trek makes a great Christmas present for the person who has everything!

Visit the Lower Pecos by flying with American Airlines to Del Rio, Texas. American Airlines American Eagle flies to Del Rio from DFW Airport in Dallas. Visit to get your ticket today
Shumla Archaeological Research & Education Center 
P.O. Box 627, Comstock, TX 78837
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