March 2022
We made it to Spring, friends!

I don't know about you, but I am ready for birds, buds, butterflies and bees. I love the feeling that everything is waking up.

It's a similar feeling to the one I get when I stand in a site of sacred art. It may seem that after nearly 25 years I would become numb to the experience of the art of the Lower Pecos Canyonlands. The truth is, every time I stand before a rock art panel, it feels like the first time.

Archaeologist Joe Watkins, in a recent conversation, articulated this sensation so well. He said that each image is a "time capsule of liquid paint". Like a metal box filled with our most prized possessions that we seal and put in the ground for future generations to find, there was a moment in time when a person put their most prized thoughts and beliefs in liquid paint onto the wall, for all of us.

Even now, as we "open" that time capsule through our studies and through Indigenous knowledge passed down through generations, it gives us goosebumps and a sense that the art, too, is waking up.
All the best,
Jessica and all of us at Shumla
Come See the Art for Yourself
In March we kicked off our Spring Treks.

We visited Vaquero Shelter, Fate Bell, Eagle Cave and even Vinegarroon historic site.

On April 9th we have a very special Trek for you: Meyers Spring rock art site and historic military outpost. This impressive site is very easy to access by high clearance vehicle. It's a perfect Trek if you aren't looking for a strenuous hike.
Meyers Spring rock art site abounds with images relating to the Historic period including: horses, horseback riders, missions, crosses. You can also find figures wearing ecclesiastical robes and headgear, a horse-drawn wagon, teepees, and more.
Part of the late-nineteenth and twentieth century history of the region also appears in the form of graffiti: initials, names, shapes, and dates either painted or engraved on the wall, including the names of U.S. Army units and the names or initials of ranchers or travelers.

Fragments of Pecos River style rock art can be seen scattered throughout the panel as well as the water spring that the site gets its name from. This place on the landscape was painted by people for thousands of years during the Archaic and continuing until historic times, which is why it’s such an important Trek for us to share with you!
Come Trek with us on April 9th and see
 this impressive site for yourself!
April Treks:

April 09: Meyers Spring Panel and Historic Site ♦

April 23: Vaquero Shelter and Painted Shelter ♦♦

April 24: Fate Bell Annex, Fate Bell Shelter and Running Horse ♦♦♦
May Treks:

May 14: Halo Shelter and the Devils River ♦♦♦♦

May 28: Black Cave and Vaquero Shelter ♦♦♦♦

May 29: Fate Bell Annex, Fate Bell Shelter and Running Horse ♦♦
If you have any questions or if there is anything holding you back from joining a Trek, please reach out to talk with us about it. We can't wait to hear from you!

In 2019, Shumla documented Meyers Spring through the Alexandria Project. Here is the Meyers Spring 3D model. The team also conducted portable spectroscopy to identify the pigments used at the site. Read the article detailing our findings here.
A Hearthstone Project Update
As part of the Hearthstone Project, Karen has been busily working in Shumla’s Archaeological Chemistry Laboratory to radiocarbon date Pecos River Style paintings.

She recently analyzed 10 paintings at three sites near the Pecos River. The dates at each shelter showed remarkable consistency in age and are the oldest ages that we have obtained for Pecos River Style. This new data is just a glimpse of the exciting things that we are going to discover as we study additional sites in the region.  

Karen will be presenting this new data at the Society for American Archaeology conference in Chicago this week. She will also talk about the results at Shumla’s next Lunch & Learn. Tune in!

We still have work to do, including additional microscopy to determine the order of paint layering at the sites. We hope to publish this research soon and share more details with you as we learn more!
April Lunch & Learn
How Old is Lower Pecos Art?

Join Dr. Karen Steelman, Shumla's Science Director and the director of our 14C plasma oxidation laboratory, as she shares the science of dating Lower Pecos murals to determine when they were painted.

Join our Lunch and Learn titled "How Old is Lower Pecos Art?" It's FREE! Click below to register. We look forward to seeing you on zoom!
Once you've registered, you'll receive an email confirmation with a Zoom link for the event. We will send a reminder email on the day of the event.
Altamira Exhibit Available Online
Color Engenders Life

This stunning exhibition, which highlights the hunter-gatherer rock art in the Lower Pecos Canyonlands, was organized by the National Museum and Research Center of Altamira in Spain and was curated by Carolyn Boyd, Texas State University and Shumla Archaeological Center.

Click below to see what came out of this incredible collaboration!
Color Engenders Life

Exhibition organized by the National Museum and Research Center of Altamira (Spain) Almost 4,000 years ago, in southwest Texas (USA) and Coahuila (Mexico), hunter-gatherer artists painted some of the most complex murals in the world. They wove...

Read more
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