Shumla in the Media
Shumla’s research and education is gaining local, national and international attention. Here are just a few of the news stories and articles that have been published about Shumla.
(Click on each heading to access articles, videos, radio shows, etc.)
I’m scooting backward down a steep slope into a rocky, cactus-studded canyon, one hand clutching a rope to help keep me steady. Pam Leblanc recounts her experience trekking to Halo Shelter with Shumla as seen in this AAA Magazine.
Jack Johnson, Amistad National Recreation Area archeologist, has received the Shumla Archeological Research and Education Center’s “Steward of the Year” award. This article honors Shumla’s longtime friend and this year’s Steward of the Year, Jack Johnson, and his incredible partnership over the years.
“New research has shown that human figures painted in red on a rock art panel in central Montana depict individuals engaged in a life-or-death encounter during an especially fraught historical moment.” This article written by Eric A. Powell describes the dating project Dr. Karen Steelman conducted with Larry Loendorf in the Shumla lab.
If the story of Texas art starts with these mysterious rock paintings—I’m convinced there’s no greater artwork in the state – it begins from a place of deep cultural importance. Looking around the state at the other candidates for best artwork in Texas, all seem to reflect this vision of art as a central part of being alive, as necessary as food and medicine.
“Juliette Majors, a Comstock ISD senior, had only heard about the ancient artworks scattered across the desolate rocky desert surrounding her community. That changed dramatically this school year when Majors and several fellow seniors got to work on an ongoing research effort to observe, document, and understand these archaeological treasures — the narrative murals of the Lower Pecos Canyonlands.” This article written by Laura Tolley, managing editor of Texas Lone Star, dives deep into the Shumla Scholars program and shares the advanced research setting and hands-on experience offered to students in this outpost of Texas.
“The sites are really, really vulnerable, Katie reminds us. Part of Shumla’s
documentation is for when they’re no longer visible.” This article written by Joe Holley describes one of our Shumla Treks to Halo Shelter.
“Just like an Aztec codex, the Pecos River Style murals are compositions painted to communicate. They are like books. Books we are learning to read.” This article written by Jessica Lee Hamlin describes Shumla’s work in preserving 5,000 years of history painted on the rock walls of Southwest Texas.
“And because I was a muralist, I knew the skill it took to produce something like this, and to do it so beautifully. I was awed.” This article by Andy Corbley describes Dr. Carolyn Boyd’s journey to understanding and interpreting the White Shaman Mural.
“Shumla Treks Offer a Revealing Look at the Ancient Rock Art of Southwest Texas” This article by Pam LeBlanc shares a day on a Shumla Trek and the unique experience of seeing the art depicting rituals and animals painted 4,000 years ago.
“In the past few years, students from the school have helped build a plasma oxidation instrument…” This article by Pam LeBlanc describes how Comstock high school coursework includes rock art research with Shumla archaeologists.
“As part of $3 M. Initiative, Researchers Document Ancient Murals at U.S.-Mexico Border” This article by Claire Selvin describes how Shumla archaeologists are working to document ancient artworks at the U.S.-Mexico border in Texas that face environmental threats.
“Archaeologists rush to record the Rio Grande’s art amid threat from flooding and drug cartels” This article by Gabriella Angeleti dives into how the rock art near the Texas-Mexico border could be lost forever and what Shumla’s efforts have been to locate and preserve this ancient art.
“Archaeologists have recorded 233 ancient art sites along Texas’ border with Mexico. Now they want to discover the meanings behind the murals” This article by Brendan Gibbons describes the work that was accomplished during the Alexandria Project, and what is now being done with the “staggering amount of visual data” that was collected by Shumla’s staff. In particular, it highlights the research of Dr. Diana Rolon on the feline motif in the rock art.
Listen to this podcast which captures the essence of the rock art and Shumla’s efforts to save it. “Archeologists Win a ‘Race Against Time’ in Documenting Ancient Canyonland Murals” was produced by Drew Stuart with Marfa Public Radio, Nature Notes program. In spite of COVID 19, “We kept everyone safe,” Hamlin said, “and we were able to get to 70 sites in 2020, despite two months out of the field, despite working from home – I can’t speak highly enough about the team being able to do that.”
“Racing to Preserve Rock Art in the Lower Pecos Canyonlands,” written by Pam LeBlanc, gives readers a glimpse into a day in the life of Shumla archaeologists as they document site number 156 for the Alexandria Project. Learn how our methods of documenting rock art are used in the field and in the lab along with challenges we face along the way with this ambitious project!
This article in Journal of Archaeological Science written by Amanda Castaneda, Charles Koenig and Karen Steelman (with Marvin Rowe), discusses the findings of chemical analysis of painted pebbles. Painted pebbles are the primary mobiliary art found in the Lower Pecos Canyonlands of southwest Texas and northern Mexico. Previous studies of these artifacts have focused on stylistic variation of the imagery and interpretation of the role they played within Lower Pecos societies. The focus of this study is the use of portable X-ray fluorescence on Lower Pecos painted pebbles to conduct elemental analyses to identify the pigment used by ancient artists in the paint recipe for painted pebble production.
May 2019 — Around the Lower Pecos in 1095 Days
Shumla’s research team wrote a fantastic article detailing the methods and research questions that drive the Alexandria Project for the American Indian Rock Art publication of the American Rock Art Research Association (ARARA). Here’s the abstract of the article authored by Charles W. Koenig, Amanda M. Castañeda, Victoria L. Roberts, Jerod L. Roberts, Carolyn E. Boyd, and Karen L. Steelman.
In 2017 Shumla Archaeological Research & Education Center launched The Alexandria Project, with the goal of digitally documenting and preserving the 4,000 year record of hunter-gatherer rock art in the Lower Pecos Canyonlands of southwest Texas. The majority of identified Lower Pecos rock art is in Val Verde County, Texas, and the objective of the Alexandria Project is to conduct baseline documentation at the over 300 known Val Verde County rock art sites. Shumla has implemented intensive rock art documentation and digital preservation methods using a combination of low and high-tech approaches, including Structure from Motion (SfM) 3D modeling and high-resolution gigapanoramas. This project will create an unparalleled visual and spatial inventory of Lower Pecos rock art to inform current and future research. This paper summarizes Shumla’s documentation methods used during the Alexandria Project.
Spring 2019 — Getty Conservation Institute – Conservation Perspectives
We are thrilled to be included in the Getty Conservation Institute’s publication with the world’s leading rock art conservators and researchers as a leader and innovator in the study and documentation of ancient art. Carolyn Boyd was asked to write an article for their Rock Art Conservation edition to share Shumla’s method of rock art preservation through our main pillars of research, documentation, stewardship and education. If you’ve ever wondered how we do what we do, look no further. There is a road map to our methods right here! CLICK HERE to read the whole article, starting on page 13!
July 2018 — Rivard Report
Robert Rivard and his wife Monika Maekle visited Shumla and the Lower Pecos rock art with a group of folks from San Antonio invited by Shumla Board Member Kay Watt. He wrote this fantastic article for his locally famous Rivard Report about his experience and the work Shumla’s doing. “Ancient Human Echoes in the Rock Art of the Lower Pecos Canyonlands” gets to the bottom of the Shumla story. Thank you, Robert!
July 2018 — Del Rio News Herald
In her article “Regional rock art drawing global experts,” Sr. Staff Writer Karen Gleason shared with the Del Rio community the reactions of some of the world’s most well-known and influential rock art researchers when they were introduced to the rock art of Val Verde county and the documentation and research efforts of Shumla.
April 2018 — Texas Observer
“The Time Traveler’s Guide to the Lower Pecos,” written by Rose Calahan, gives a wonderful introduction to the people and places that make up our incredible landscape. Ms. Calahan took part in the Rock Art Rendezvous put on by the Witte Museum, visited sites with Shumla archaeologists and ate at our local hamburger joint, J&P Bar & Grill. Check out this great article to get a taste of life in the Lower Pecos!
January 2018 — National Geographic HISTORY Magazine
Turn to page 4 of the January/February 2018 issue of National Geographic HISTORY and you’ll see Shumla’s first glossy debut in a National Geographic publication – truly a dream come true – and a great article to boot! “Saving America’s Oldest Chronicles: Paintings from 2700 B.C. to the A.D. 1500’s adorn the canyonlands of Texas. A new project is preserving them in high-tech images, so if they ever disappear, their thrilling story can still be told.” The article includes beautiful images of the rock art, the team, decorrelation stretch enhancements and a fantastic summary of the Alexandria Project and Shumla’s mission. What more could we ask for? We are so glad that our thrilling story can also be told… in National Geographic!
December 2017 — American Archaeology Magazine – Cover Story
Guess who made the front cover of American Archaeology Magazine? Shumla, of course! Our incredible Alexandria Project was highlighted in an article by Rich Marini called “Saving an Ancient Library.” We are ecstatic to be receiving this kind of fantastic coverage for our ground-breaking information gathering and rescue mission.
November 2017 — ARCHAEOLOGY MAGAZINE
What a milestone for Shumla and the rock art of the Lower Pecos to be highlighted in a centerfold article in the iconic Archaeology Magazine! In the 8-page article by deputy editor Eric Powell, Carolyn Boyd’s interpretation of the White Shaman mural is described in depth, including detailed discussions of five motifs: (1) The Birth of Time, (2) Dawn Mountain, (3) Mother Goddess, (4) Moon Goddess and (5) Underworld.
September 2017 — San Antonio Express News
Shumla is front page news! Rich Marini (reporter) and Kin Man Hui (photographer) dove into the Alexandria Project with the team and spent a day in the field documenting us as we documented our 16th Alexandria Project site. Their article and images appeared on the front page of the San Antonio Express News, September 26. They really captured how hard the team works, as well as how much fun we have together.
September 2017 — National Geographic Voices Blog
Shumla Director, Jessica Lee, wrote a guest blog piece for the National Geographic Voices Blog Explorer’s Journal. The blog highlights the work of National Geographic Explorers – they say “Every hour of every day, somewhere on Earth, National Geographic explorers are at work trying to uncover, understand, or help care for some small part of the world around us. These are some of their stories.” Jessica’s contribution was entitled: Preserving and Deciphering Ancient Rock Art in Texas.
September 2017 — Austin American Statesman
Check out this fantastic introduction to Shumla and our Alexandria Project published in the Sunday Travel section of the Austin American Statesmen. Thank you, Pam LeBlanc, for coming to Shumla for two days to research the piece!
August 2017 — Big Bend Sentinel
“The Rambling Boy” – Lonn Taylor – contributed one of the best and most thorough articles about Shumla’s Founder Carolyn Boyd and Shumla’s work that has ever been written in this month’s edition of the Big Bend Sentinel. His reflection and eloquence on a topic and a person so near and dear to the heart of all Shumla’s board, staff and supporters is extraordinary.
June 2017 — International Newsletter on Rock Art (INORA)
An article by Carolyn Boyd on her discoveries at The White Shaman Mural was published in the Bradshaw Foundations 78th International Newsletter on Rock Art.
May 2017 — Texas Co-op Power Magazine
In their May issue, Texas Co-op Power, included a two-page excerpt straight from Carolyn Boyd’s book, The White Shaman Mural: An Enduring Creation Narrative.
April 2017 — Marfa Public Radio Broadcast and Article
Shumla Director, Jessica Lee, was interviewed by Marfa Public Radio’s, Drew Stuart. She talks about her first encounter with the art of the Lower Pecos and the passion that drives her and the whole Shumla team to preserve this Texas treasure.
April 2017 — Texas Country Reporter TV Episode
The Iconic Texas Country Reporter, Bob Phillips and his wife Kelli, visited with Dr. Carolyn Boyd and the Shumla staff. Their 7-minute segment really reaches the depths of the passion and commitment of the Shumla team.
March 2014 – Drawing from the Past
“Absolutely incredible” is a phrase repeated time and again as people gaze in awe at the majestic murals in the Lower Pecos Canyonlands. Author and scholar Carolyn Boyd relates the discovery and meaning of the incredible rock art of the Lower Pecos Canyonlands.
Listen now or download this podcast for your next 20 minutes in the car! Carolyn Boyd and Jessica Lynn Lee share stories of first time they saw the murals, why they now call them “books” and the meaning encoded in the images, the colors and even the act of painting.
March 2017 — The Texas Standard
A great segment on NPR’s – The Texas Standard – about Carolyn’s work and the Witte Museum People of the Pecos Exhibit. Listen from minute 00:25:30 to 00:30:00.
February 2017 — Texas Monthly
Full page image of the White Shaman mural and a short piece by Texas Country Reporter, Bob Phillips.
January 2017 — Glasstire Texas Visual Art Magazine
Feature Story: “Overwhelmed By Wonder: Carolyn Boyd and Lower Pecos Rock Art”
Author Gene Fowler delves into the history of research in the Lower Pecos culminating in Carolyn’s new book The White Shaman Mural: An Enduring Creation Narrative.
September 2016 — Texas Highways
Guess what is number SIX out of 42 items on the Texas Highways’ Texas Bucket List – “Behold the Rock Art of the Lower Pecos Canyonlands.” Check it out and try to hit them all… Starting with #6 of course!
Summer 2016 — Preservation Magazine
Shumla’s preservation work at Amistad National Recreation Area’s Panther Cave site was featured on pages 30-31. Unfortunately, two images they used were not of Panther Cave (as stated in the captions), but it’s still a lovely article and image spread. Click the title above to view the article. Scroll down to “Amistad National Recreation Area.”
June 2016 — Texas HERITAGE Magazine
Shumla Executive Director, Jessica Lee’s, article about Shumla’s research on paint stratigraphy and the discovery that proved the White Shaman Mural was, in fact, a single composition begins on page 8. Only subscriber’s can see the article online, the PDF is available above. Visit www.texashistoricalfoundation.org to subscribe.
Winter 2016 — Del Rio Grande
Cover Story: “Rock Art’s Star — Dr. Carolyn Boyd Keeps Tab on Area’s History”
Carolyn Boyd was featured in the Del Rio New Herald’s first edition of Del Rio Grande Magazine. In the 6-page spread, author Karen Gleason captured the mystery and the discovery that drove Carolyn to move to this area and focus all her energy on the study and preservation of the rock art.
May 2015 — San Antonio KSAT News
KSAT News Anchor, Justin Horne, visited the Lower Pecos to explore the rock art and Shumla’s advanced technology. His 2-minute news segment gets right to the core of Shumla’s work and the rock art’s significance.
September 2014 — Texas Highways
Dr. Carolyn Boyd was named one of Texas Highway’s “Extraordinary Texans” for her tireless work preserving the ancient art of the Lower Pecos and educating students of all ages.
January 2014 — Western Digs
New technology is providing unexpected insights into some of the most distinctive rock art in the American West, archaeologists say. What’s more, new dating techniques suggest that a signature style of Lower Pecos rock art may have persisted thousands of years longer than had been thought.
May 2012 — Discover Magazine
Feature Story: “Secrets of the White Shaman”
In this beautiful piece, Author Will Hunt followed the path of discovery traveled by Carolyn Boyd to discern patterns in the Lower Pecos rock art and determine how to decipher their meaning. It is amazing to see how far the interpretative work has come in just 5 years. In 2012, Carolyn had not yet discovered the connections she would soon uncover in the Aztec codices.
March 2012 — Texas Highways
Cover Story: “Panther Cave: Rock Art in Danger.”
This feature story about the documentation and preservation of Panther Cave mural included 8 full pages on the collaborative project between Shumla, the National Park and Texas Parks and Wildlife to document and laser-scan the entire over 180 ft. long mural.
Marfa Public Radio’s Nature Notes podcast captures the essence of the rock art and Shumla’s efforts to save it!
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