A project anchored in science, art and indigenous knowledge.
Check out the blog links below to follow along on our journey to unlock the many stories of the Lower Pecos Canyonlands of Southwest Texas.
The contrast between field work and lab work is often striking, and our experience in Mexico is no exception. We left the spontaneous and unpredictable fieldwork conducted in the wide-open spaces of
the sierras to begin our deliberate and meticulous lab work, stuck in front of a computer for hours on end.
In 2016, Carolyn Boyd and Kim Cox suggested that Pecos River style (PRS) murals are visual narratives containing evidence of el nucleo duro (the hard nucleus), a widespread Archaic core of beliefs persisting across time and across cultural, linguistic, and geographic boundaries. If this is true, then Indigenous people living today should be able to relate PRS imagery to their cosmology. In 2021, Carolyn was awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) grant through her position at Texas State University to test this hypothesis and Shumla received a subaward as part of this collaborative grant.
Chloe Bluemel started volunteering at Shumla on July 24, 2023. During my time, she has analyzed the anthropomorphs depicted on the walls of Jaguar Shelter, written extensive descriptions, and entered this information into the Shumla database.
Former Shumla Intern, Madeline Okkonen, recalls her experience as an intern in San Marcos in the spring of 2023. She retells her time on an archive research and mapping project as well as fieldwork training with the crew to learn about the Shumla Method of Rock Art Documentation.
Part three of Carolyn Boyd and Phil Dering’s Mexico experience, as part of Shumla’s Hearthstone Project, describes their time at the rancho on the mesa at the edge of San Andrés and our trip out of the sierras.
Part two of Carolyn Boyd and Phil Dering’s Mexico experience, as part of Shumla’s Hearthstone Project, gives an account of our experience at a rancho the barrancas.
Part one of Carolyn Boyd and Phil Dering’s Mexico experience, as part of Shumla’s Hearthstone Project, provides background to our project and describes the first few days in Mexico and in San Andrés Cohamiata.
In ancient societies, the process of producing art carried as much meaning as the finished product. This is why we seek to discover how the Pecos River style murals were painted.
Fate Bell is a massive rockshelter in Seminole Canyon State Park and Historical Site. Our field work focused on a famous set of well-preserved images at the southern end of the shelter, commonly called “The Triad”.
Painted Canyon houses two spectacular rock art sites, Jackrabbit and Jaguar shelters. The mural in Jaguar shelter is the oldest we have yet radiocarbon dated in the region. It may contain the oldest securely dated pictographs in North America. We are conducting additional research as part of the field work described in this blog to confirm our findings.
In this installment we take you with us into the field. Join us in Halo Shelter! We’ll share a couple of tricks of the trade and some unexpected findings that resulted from our 14 days in front of this incredible panel.
Is Pecos River Style mural art a surviving manifestation of core beliefs that formed the basis for later Aztec, Toltec, and Olmec religions? If this is true, then regardless of group affiliation, any person with a working knowledge of the transcendent myths informing the art could read the murals.
The Hearthstone Project is a collaboration between Texas State University and Shumla Archaeological Research and Education Center. The project is anchored in both science and the humanities, combining two research and preservation efforts, both partially funded by the...
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