Shumla Goes to Washington

Ou r own Jimmy Stewart - Mr. Roberts takes the podium. 

A Note from the Director

Welcome to the combined April/May eNewsletter! I don't know about you, but May crept up on us here in Comstock. Especially because  it's been unusually cool and convinced us that we're still in March. (We're certainly not complaining.) April has been jam-packed with travel and field work. May will be no different. 

Read on to hear about our trip to Washington D.C., get an update on our renovation progress at the new Headquarters, meet our newest visitors Elsa and Diana, and, of course, hear about the progress of the Alexandria Project.

Thank you for "tuning in" with us and for your contributions to our work. We couldn't do it without you!

Executive Director

83rd Annual Society for American Archaeology Meeting or "SAA" 

This year the annual SAA meeting was held in Washington D.C. The SAA conference brings professional and avocational archaeologists together from across the U.S. and the globe.

Amanda Castaneda and Vicky Roberts present at SAA.

Each year, Shumla researcher's prepare presentations and publications to present at SAA. It's an important and valued part of their professional development. At SAA they can connect with their peers in the industry, learn and communicate best practices, give and receive advice and constructive criticism and - best of all - have fun with their friends from all over the world. 

Dinner at a DC indian cuisine restaurant with friends.

It takes a lot of preparation and planning for the Shumla team to present at the SAA each year. It would be a lot easier to just keep working. However, as a professional archaeological organization, we must engage with our peers, receive peer review of our methods and findings, and learn from best practices of others. Without this engagement, it would be very easy to become isolated. 

We intend to stay on the cutting edge of our field, always improving, always learning. As we improve, so does our ability to achieve our mission - to preserve the oldest "books" in North America. 

Charles presented a poster.

This year, we were particularly interested in learning and sharing knowledge on the topics of data management and virtual site experiences

Data Management
Data management is a pivotal part of our mission. The data we gather must be stored securely and accessibly into perpetuity and it must be useful to future researchers. This is a tall order for a small non-profit. It's a tall order for anyone! Technology has advanced so quickly in terms of how much data can be gathered at a rapid pace. We all must advance to care for that data properly. 

Think of your phone. A few years ago you could store a few photos, a few songs, a few apps. Now you can store thousands upon thousands of photos, songs, apps, and more. But the best way to care for and access that data has been slower to advance. 

Apps must constantly be updated to fix glitches. Photos get left on an old phone and then that phone is lost or breaks. Music and data is streaming from all different apps, folders and sites, some paid, some free, some in the cloud, some tied to other devices. 

It can easily get overwhelming.  This is what we must avoid at Shumla. Our stakes are much higher because of our commitment to preserve the information and make it accessible. We have to get this right. 

Virtual Site Experiences
We also learned about the ways other archaeological organizations are developing virtual reality experiences to allow people to "visit" sites virtually. This type of technology has many applications both for tourists and researchers. Imagine walking into a room in a museum and being transported virtually to a rock art site in Australia. That's not too far off. While we are not actively designing virtual reality experiences right now at Shumla, we can be thinking about applying this new technology as we collect data during the Alexandria Project.

Do you want to know what Shumla Researchers presented at SAA?  Check out our blog post

Meet our Visiting Researchers from Mexico!
Elsa Montserrat Linares Aguirre and Diana Radillo Rolòn

Elsa considers rock art.
Elsa has a  Bachelors degree in International Relations. Her p rincipal interests are related to cultural approaches to art and religion. She completed a  Bachelors Degree thesis through the Support Program for Research Projects and Technological Innovation (PAPIIT). The thesis was titled "Hermeneutics as a methodological tool for research in Social Sciences and Humanities" (2013).  Her main research focuses are trans-cultural contributions, management, promotion and diffusion from the cultural heritage of humanity.

Diana balances for just the right photo.
Diana has a  PhD in Archaeology and is a member of the academic staff at the Division of Postgraduate Studies of National School of Anthropology and History.   Her research has focused on rock art sites in northern Mexico and their hermeneutic interpretation.  She requested training with Shumla because she feels it is necessary to learn more about digital techniques of rock art documentation for her continued research. Her goals are to learn Shumla techniques of systematic, high-resolution documentation and to apply the methodology with hermeneutic interpretation for her postdoctoral research.  

Diana and Elsa will be here for a month! Join us in welcoming them!
Alexandria Project Update


The team finished documenting site 69 last week with intern Jade Tellez, Visiting Mexican Researchers Diana and Elsa, and Charles's parents, Betty and Mike Koenig.



There's lots of ways to keep up with the Alexandria Project, the research team and our discoveries and observations. 


Check out Motif Monday on Shumla's Facebook page. This Monday's was all about antlered anthropomorphs. 


If Motif Monday wet's your appetite to know more, go to Shumla's blog. The May 1st edition is an even deeper discussion of these incredible figures with lots of great pictures. 



Thank you to all who have donated to help us renovate the former Border Patrol trailer that will become Shumla's new Headquarters in Comstock. If you missed the article in last month's eNews, click here to read it!

Here are a few "in-progress" photos to show how we are using your donations. Look at that shiny new paint! One of our donors made us promise not to use pink... so here's the proof! If you'd like to contribute, please donate here!

New paint going up!

New floor tiles going down!

New door to enclose the bathroom. There was just a wide opening where the old men's locker room and men's bathroom met. The former men's locker room will be Shumla's new plasma oxidation laboratory space.

How do I support Shumla?

Shumla is a non-profit 501(c)(3). We rely on donations to achieve  our mission. The very best way to support our work is to contribute. Donate here to help us save the oldest "books" in North America. 

Make Shumla your benefiting charity on AmazonSmile and  Shumla will receive .5% of your purchase amount at no extra cost to you.

Visit Shumla's Amazon Wish List  to make our wishes come true.

We love
our supporters! 
We can't thank you enough!

The land. The art. The team. The mission. 

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