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Shumla School Newsletter
Shumla School

February, 2010

January 30, 2010
Volume 2, No. 1

Welcome to the first issue of the SHUMLA eNewsletter for 2010.   SHUMLA eNews will arrive in your e-mailbox periodically from The newsletter will keep you up to date on the activities at SHUMLA. Note: You will only see in the "From" column of your email. To ensure that SHUMLA eNews gets to you through any anti-spam filters, please place our address on your approved email address list. If you use filters, please make sure that you don't filter out email from this address .

The 37th annual American Rock Art Research Association (ARARA) conference will convene in Del Rio on March 26–29, 2010. Del Rio was selected for its proximity to some of the finest examples of prehistoric rock art in North America, dating to at least 4,500 years ago.

SHUMLA was chosen as the host organization, and SHUMLA staff has taken an active role assisting ARARA in planning and organizing the conference and the field trips. The annual conference, which will bring exposure to the tremendous cultural resources of the Lower Pecos Canyonlands, is expected to draw approximately 300 visitors to Del Rio. 

Field trips will take place on March 26th and 29th and will be coordinated and led by SHUMLA staff. These trips will take visitors to some of the most significant rock art shelters in the Lower Pecos, including White Shaman, Painted Shelter, Mystic Shelter, Cedar Springs Shelter, Rattlesnake Canyon, Indianhead Ranch, Curly Tail Panther, Seminole Canyon State Park, Black Cave, Meyer Springs and the Lewis Canyon petroglyph site.

“These field trips are incredibly popular with ARARA participants and some are already  full”,  said SHUMLA’s

                        Photo by Linda Gorski

Dr. Carolyn E. Boyd describes rock art at Cedar Springs Shelter

Jennifer Ramage, who is organizing and coordinating the conference field trips. “We are so grateful to all the landowners, the Rock Art Foundation and the National and State Park representatives for making these trips possible. Entrance to these important sites would not be possible without their support.”

For information on the ARARA conference see their website at

Friends Logo Are you a member of SHUMLA?  More importantly, why should you become a member of SHUMLA?

Because since its founding in 1998, SHUMLA has become known internationally as a premier institution for rock art research and education.  We need your help to continue these efforts to bring state, national and international recognition to the rock art of the Lower Pecos region of Texas and to educate our children in their rich cultural heritage.

The SHUMLA School was established on 70 acres of ranchland donated by Comstock residents Jack and Katherine Harrington for the establishment of a research and education campus. A seed money grant of $250,000 from noted anthropologist Dr. Lorna Marshall provided the initial funds for the establishment of the school.
Thanks to major donations from the Houston Endowment, Brown Foundation, the Albert and Ethel Herzstein Charitable Foundation, and numerous corporate and individual donors, the campus now includes an 8000 square foot educational pavilion and kitchen, classrooms, dormitories, conference rooms, visiting scholars' quarters, a shower-house, and an extensive research library consisting of over 2500 volumes are also available for visiting guests.

Since the completion of the campus facilities in the fall of 2003, SHUMLA has provided hands-on cultural heritage programs to over 20,000 children and adults. SHUMLA’s youth programs connect children with the land and their cultural heritage and school administrators credit SHUMLA with reducing dropout rates and  increasing overall academic performance.
SHUMLA adult programs have been equally successful. Led by internationally renowned scholars, SHUMLA programs are attracting participants to the Del Rio area from around the world to study the human use of materials, land and art in the Lower Pecos region.

To keep these world-class rock art research programs going we need your help and participation.  SHUMLA’s supporters come from all over the world, from local ranchers and business owners, to kids in Texas schools, to archeologists in Australia. If you are not a member of SHUMLA, we urge you to join. If you are a member we urge to renew or increase your membership.
Membership levels include

$25    Student
$35    Individual
$60    Dual
$75    Family

Additional Donor fund memberships are

$500        SHUMLA Member
$1,000     Blue Hills Member
$2,500     Devils River Member
$5,000     Pecos River Member
$10,000   Rio Grande Member

For more information about membership, go to the SHUMLA website at
or contact our Membership Coordinator at

Jack Johnson (NPS) teaching students at the Geology Rocks! Station at an educational  program at SHUMLA. He is using the stream table to demonstrate how a canyon is formed, teaching about erosion and deposition before leading students to the edge of a nearby small canyon to see the final product of these processes.

In 2009, SHUMLA launched a groundbreaking endeavor, the Lower Pecos Rock Art Recording and Preservation Project.  Through foundation support and individual gifts totaling more than $150,000, SHUMLA’s rock art recording project will span three years, two countries, and 36 archaeological sites.  Using standard and cutting-edge technology, it is the most intensive recording project ever undertaken in the Lower Pecos.  Some of the primary research goals of the project are to identify, document and describe all imagery contained within rock art panels. This technique already has been employed at 7 rock art sites and, with over 5,000 person hours spent recording, has resulted in the documentation of approximately:
•    300 anthropomorphs (human-like figures)
•    120 zoomorphs (animal-like figures)
•    20 enigmatics (not anthropomorphs or zoomorphs)
•    1,000 pages of written notes
•    500 pages of figure sketches
•    4000 photographs

Joe Nicoli, Director of Laser Scanning Services at Western Mapping Company, is shown here downloading data from the 3D Scanner.

Using this data, SHUMLA will be able to look for elusive code breaking patterns in Pecos River style rock art.  These patterns will be used to interpret the art and to explain intra- and inter-site relationships spanning the entire Lower Pecos region.

The project is also using state-of-the-art technologies, including geodetic surveying, three-dimensional laser scanning, laser reflectivity analysis, and computer-enhanced photography to record and visualize the rock art and the shelters in which the art is found.  Beginning in October 2009, Western Mapping Company of Tucson, Arizona and Rupestrian Cyberserivces of Flagstaff, Arizona began this process at two spectacular sites, Halo Shelter and White Shaman.  The final product can be used to create 3-D animations and physical reconstructions and, most importantly, to aid in resource protection through education and image conservation.

“This long-term project will create a digital library to archive rock art data, establish a comprehensive multi disciplinary research program, and form a stewards program,” said Carolyn Boyd, SHUMLA Executive Director.  “It will also continue the hands-on education  programs that connect people of all ages to this unique cultural legacy.”

For more information on this project, see the article on our website at


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