About UsMeet Shumla and Learn Our Story
Shumla Archaeological Research & Education Center is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization working to preserve the oldest “books” in North America — the narrative murals of the Lower Pecos Canyonlands.
The story of Shumla began over 5,000 years ago when the ancient inhabitants of the Lower Pecos Canyonlands began to paint their sophisticated myths and beliefs on the limestone canyon walls.
In 1998, artist-turned-archaeologist Dr. Carolyn Boyd, who recognized the incredible value of the ancient art, founded an organization to preserve, study and share this important cultural record. Since then, Shumla has been a center of archaeological research, heritage preservation, community outreach and education for students of all ages.
We acknowledge that the land beneath
our feet is the ancestral home of many Indigenous peoples.
We revere and respect those who were stewards of this land long before it
became our home.
We strive to honor both past and
living indigenous peoples and
their cultural heritage.
UNESCO World Heritage Centre
Give to Shumla
Help us keep up the momentum!
Preserving the oldest “books” in North America
Like a book, each mural in the Lower Pecos Canyonlands was authored and composed to communicate thoughts and ideas. These ancient paintings are visual narratives that will rewrite the prehistory of North America. At Shumla, we work to preserve and share the “library” of painted texts and the information they hold through documentation, research, stewardship and education.
Documentation: Recording the Fragile Artwork
We use the latest technological advances to document each painted narrative as a whole and each figure and line within it individually, creating an exhaustive searchable database that can be used by researchers for years to come, long after the paintings have disappeared.
Stewardship: Encouraging Interest and Awareness
Research: Unraveling the Mural’s Mysteries
Education: Connecting to Our Shared Past
We open this remote region and its cultural treasure trove to visitors, volunteers, students, teachers, and researchers from around the world. We collaborate on exhibits, publish and present our findings and make our data, results and methods available to all.
The Board of Directors and Staff of Shumla hope to facilitate a future where:
- Shumla is a global leader in rock art research and education, collaborating with partners, across disciplines and internationally.
- The ancient paintings of the Lower Pecos Canyonlands continue to inspire awe, enjoyment, and scholarship far into the future.
- The library of information housed in the oldest ‘books’ in North America is available to all.