MAY 2016
SPECIAL NOTE: Have you ever sent mail you to Shumla and had it returned to you? Or have you sent us a gift from our Amazon Wish List and then seen a refund later? Unfortunately, it's because of where we are. Comstock is so small it is not an incorporated town. We don't have a mailbox at our physical location. It appears that for some time now mail sent to us at our physical address has been returned because it didn't have our post office box written on it. Please let us know if this has happened to you. Don't hesitate to mail us (we love mail!), just be sure to use our  mailing address: P.O. Box 627, Comstock, TX 78837.
A Note from the Director

" The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes" - Marcel Proust

Watching the Shumla Scholars learn through discovery is one of the highlights of our experience as Shumla staff. Like this quote states so well, we don't take them out of their southwest Texas border town semi-arid desert landscape, we give them new eyes to see it with. 

The Shumla Scholars see their landscape with new eyes.
In this issue you'll learn about how we do it and the incredible things the Shumla Scholars have accomplished on their way to graduation.

All the best,
Jessica Lee, Director

Shumla Scholars See in 3D
No Funky Glasses Required...
If you follow our Facebook, you know about our Shumla Scholars and their Comstock Cemetery Documentation Project. Their goal is to document the historic cemetery that has been the resting place for the people of Comstock for over 100 years and complete the Texas Historical Commission nomination to make the Comstock Cemetery a Historic Texas Cemetery. 

The Scholars were given instruction in the use of all the technological tools the Shumla Archaeologists use to document rock art. This includes the use of the Structure for Motion Photogrammetry method for the creation of 3D models.

How to Make a 3D Model:
1) Take over 100 photos of your target in a strict pattern.

Bailey Grimes photographs a headstone in a pattern to be sure to capture every surface.

2) Process the photos using software that allows you to "mask" out, or remove, the background of the target and prepare the photos for the next step.

Scholars process photos to prepare to make 3D models.

3) Stitch the photos together using special software that will allow you to develop and finalize a 3D model.

One of the final 3D models. Click the link below to move the model and see all sides.

Some of the Scholars admitted that they were intimidated by the process when we first told them what they would be doing. They had no experience with special cameras, rules of light and exposure, high-tech software that "masks" and "stitches" images together. They weren't sure what to expect. Gradually, however, as they worked through the process piece by piece, they assembled something incredible, something they never thought they could create.

Do you want to see their 3D models? Y ou can! And you can even manipulate the models of the headstones to see the front, back, top, and even bottom. Visit: 

Well done, Scholars!
Chesney Perry and her fellow Scholars working on their 3D models. 

Texas Historical Commission Assessment

Jennifer McWilliams and Carlyn Hammons, Representatives of the Cemetery Preservation Program at the Texas Historical Commission (THC), came to assess the Shumla Scholars progress and the Comstock Cemetery Documentation Project this month.

Tristen Crane shows Jennifer and Carlyn an SfM photo array and resulting 3D model.

The Scholars made formal presentations on their accomplishments, struggles, and experiences using Shumla's technology and methods to document the local cemetery. 

Colby Mays explains the use of ground penetrating radar 

We couldn't have been more proud of each of the them as they spoke about their hands-on experiences with ground penetrating radar, use of the total data station in GIS mapping, and, of course, 3D modeling. 

The THC representatives asked the Scholars how this program has affected them. Our favorite answer was that the Scholars didn't realize how much fun history could be, especially when combined with science and technology. The Scholars (both past and present) really took this project on as their own and they now have a sense of ownership of this resource in their local community.

Dayna Green, Bianca Garza and Chesney Perry present to the group.

The Scholars found that most people spend little time in cemeteries and there is a stigma or even a fear of being in a cemetery. They told the THC reps about their initial fears followed by their discovery that the Comstock Cemetery was wealth of knowledge about their community. They all now feel more confident and even curious about what other cemeteries are like.

THC's Jennifer and Carlyn were blown away by The Scholars presentations and Shumla's program. 

Carlyn Hammons and Jennifer McWilliams talk with the Scholars about their experience.

Here are just a few excerpts from their glowing follow-up letter. 

"Thank you for inviting us to attend the students' final presentation. The results are extraordinary and prove that programs which allow students to apply science and technology to discover local history can lead to a stronger connection to the past, a greater sense of community pride, and a deeper appreciation for the need to preserve historic resources."

"Cemeteries are among the most valuable of historic resources in Texas. The vast majority are under-documented or undocumented. This interdisciplinary program resulted in the documentation of the cemetery, but also allowed students to explore the community's history through scientific inquiry, solving real-world problems through critical thinking and with hands-on, cutting edge technology."

"The research and documentation compiled by the students under the guidance of the Shumla staff is above and beyond what we require for the Historic Texas Cemetery application, leaving no doubt that it will lead to successful designation for the cemetery."

"Programs such as this one benefit both students and communities. We see the Shumla Scholars Program with Comstock ISD as an innovative platform for engaging young people in activities that lead to a greater sense of place, helping to foster enduring preservation ethic which at the same time teaching critical thinking and technology skills that will serve them well no matter their chosen career path."

Spotlight on Bill Cauthorn

Bill Cauthorn with his fellow Board Members standing second from the left.

This is Bill's 10th Anniversary  as a Shumla Board Member!

Bill Cauthorn joined our Board of Directors in 2006. He was President of the Board from 2009 to 2010. Bill has given Shumla shrewd leadership and wise counsel. He has also provided a great deal of financial support to Shumla both personally and through Westex Bancorp, the holding company of Bank & Trust in Del Rio. His support and advocacy has made a huge difference in the continual growth and success Shumla has experienced over the years. Without Bill we very literally would not be where we are today. 

Thank you, Bill! 
Seeing with new eyes through the lens of our new camera

The Scholars aren't the only ones who are seeing with new eyes these days. Our new full frame Canon 5DSR camera is so incredible. We have to show you the difference it is making in our photographic rock art recording. 

Zoom in to the pictures below to really get the idea.

BEFORE - Close-up

AFTER - Close-up. Can you see the incredible resolution compared to our old camera?


AFTER - The resolution is truly amazing!

The oldest "books" in 
North America are disappearing. 

Donate to Shumla. Help us document the ancient murals and preserve the information they hold. 
Every dollar you give will be matched.


Make Us Smile!

Our Amazon Wish List is bursting at the seams! Check it out!

And don't forget to make Shumla your charity on Amazon Smile. We'll receive .05% of every purchase you make at no additional cost to you. You won't feel a thing except great for giving! 

Shumla Archaeological Research & Education Center 
PO Box 627 / 148 Sanderson / Comstock, TX 78837 USA
[email protected]    432-292-4848 
Shumla  eNews is a free eNewsletter published by Shumla. 
Copyright © 2016 by Shumla. All Rights Reserved.
Questions and comments can be sent to:  [email protected]