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Tuesday, January 23, 2018

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Shumla School Newsletter
Shumla School

March, 2010

March 15, 2010
Volume 2, No. 3


The 2010 American Rock Art Research Association annual conference is coming up in Del Rio, Texas, March 26 – 29.  Dr.  Carolyn E. Boyd and Dr. Marvin Rowe will present  a  paper entitled “Over and Under:  A Re-Examination of Red Linear Rock Art.” 

Red Linear style rock art is characterized by animated, small, fine-lined figures of animals and humans.   Red linear style rock art is one of three recognized styles of prehistoric rock art in the Lower Pecos Canyonlands: Pecos River, Red Linear, and Red Monochrome.  Based upon subject content and two experimental radiocarbon dates, Red Linear is believed to have been produced during the Late Archaic around 1280 years B.P.  This would place production of these pictographs after the Pecos River style (4200 to 2750 B.P.), but prior to the Red Monochrome (650 to 1350 B.P.). 

ARARA 2010 Annual Meeting Logo, above, from a   rendering by Dr. Carolyn Boyd.
During recent rock art recording efforts, multiple examples of Pecos River style rock art superimposing Red Linear style pictographs have been documented.  The superimposition of “older” Pecos River style images over “younger” Red Linear images highlights the need for further dating research and a re-examination of the stylistic classifications of prehistoric rock art in the region.

Dr. Boyd and members of SHUMLA’s research staff including Angel Johnson, Charles Koenig, Ben Dwyer, Sandra Wier, and Nathan Martinez will also present a paper on the Lower Pecos Rock Art Recording and Preservation Project.  The Lower Pecos Canyonlands of southwest Texas and northern Mexico houses some of the most complex and compositionally intricate prehistoric rock art in the world.  Because of the uniqueness and incomparable richness of this cultural legacy, it is imperative to create a permanent visual and textual archive for future generations, while also promoting preservation of this resource through education. SHUMLA’s Lower Pecos Rock Art Recording and Preservation Project is meeting this need through documentation of rock art sites, creating a digital rock art database, establishing a multi-disciplinary research program, formation of a stewards program, and continuation of hands-on education programs. 

SHUMLA research intern Charles Koenig will also present a paper on the atlatl, one of the most widespread, yet highly variable, pictographic elements in 4,000 year old Pecos River style (PRS) rock art.  Over 25% of the 300 anthropomorphic figures documented to date through SHUMLA’s rock art recording project are wielding this ancient weapon.  There have been 6 distinct atlatl types identified within PRS rock art.  His  paper will including  preliminary findings on the geographical distribution of atlatl types, archaeological examples of atlatls found in the region and ethnographic data to determine the ritual use and symbolic meaning of atlatls beyond implementation as a hunting tool.

For more information about the ARARA Annual Conference see


SHUMLA is fortunate to have many Friends around the world.  But none are more important than those right here in Val Verde County. 

SHUMLA’s local Friends include both the National Park Service at Amistad National Recreation Area and the Seminole Canyon State Park and Historic Site. “Without our Friends from these two organizations, many of SHUMLA’s education programs just would not happen,” said Val Varner, Director of Education at SHUMLA.

As Partners in the KEY Project, NPS and SCSHP sent instructors to the "Scientists of the Lower Pecos" Knowledge Enriching Youth (KEY) program.  The KEY4 Program is an active learning day aimed at 4th grade students in all elementary schools of the San Felipe Del Rio Consolidated Independent School District (SFDR-CISD).  The program is held at the SHUMLA campus 50 miles west of Del Rio and is designed to explore how ancient peoples lived and survived in the Trans-Pecos area. 

Educational, hands-on lessons include Paint Making Experiment, Friction Fire Starting, Geology Rocks,  Native Plants of the Lower Pecos, and the Atlatl Advantage.    “Traditionally,  the National Park Service  staff shares its expertise at the geology station while Seminole Canyon State Park staff teaches the students about native plants and their  adaptations,” said Missy Harrington, SHUMLA’s Curriculum Director.  “But we really appreciate their eagerness to learn and teach at the other stations.”

"We are also very grateful to SFDR-CISD for their active participation in and support of the KEY 4 program this 2009-2010 academic year and look forward to continuing for years to come," states Val Varner.  "The KEY programs have had positive impacts on academic performance and if you attend a day program you will clearly notice the students' excitement and enthusiasm for learning.   The students also gain insight and interest in cultural and natural resources which hopefully will make a positive impact for future responsibilities regarding the social and natural environments."

If you would  like to become a SHUMLA volunteer and share your enthusiasm at our programs contact 

Randy Rosales, Seminole Canyon State Park and Historic Site, teaching various adaptations of prickly pear cactus.
Photo by Linda Gorski

Lisa Evans, National Park Service, teaching students how to use a rock key to identify rock samples.
Photo by Bill Sontag

Jack Johnson, National Park Service, at the geology stream table teaching how canyons are formed.
Photo by Linda Gorski

Tanya Petruney, Seminole Canyon State Park and Historic Site, teaching students how to start a fire using friction.
Photo by Shumla Staff

Stephanie Hidalgo, Seminole Canyon State Park and Historic Site, demonstrating atlatl skills.
Photo by Bill Sontag

Linda Fernandez, National Park Service, shows students how Geology Rocks - in the field. 
Photo by Bill Sontag

John Little, National Park Service, encourages students to rearrange rocks and mud at the geology stream table.
Photo by Shumla Staff


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