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Wednesday, December 13, 2017

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The Adventure Begins...
Shumla Archaeological Center

August, 2017

A Note from the Director
 
In February we announced that National Geographic had partially funded our Pilot Test of the Alexandria Project Research Design. Over the past few months we have taken the findings from that pilot and perfected our research plan for the coming three years of intensive field work.
 
Alexandria Project field work launches tomorrow, August 1! 
 
Through this project we will work closely with landowners to respectfully gain access to the endangered rock art sites of our incredible region. Shumla's team will follow a rigorous scientific research design and data management plan to complete baseline documentation at all accessible 300+ sites in just three years of intensive back country field work. 
 
Moving quickly and methodically, at each site we will:
  • Capture a high-resolution Gigapan image of the entire mural,
  • Record an accurate GPS coordinate for mapping,
  • Capture image data for 3-D Modeling,
  • Complete a Texas Archaeological Site Form and our Shumla Rock Art Site Form.
This information will be housed safely and securely at Shumla's headquarters - a digital copy of this extensive library of art - preserved for generations to come, long after the art has been lost. 

We could not be prouder to be taking on this important work. We are so grateful to the landowners for their partnership - they are the protectors of this legacy. And we hope that you, dear reader, will join our team and help us to make this ambitious project possible.
Alexandria Project Pledge Drive
 
Tomorrow, August 1st, the same day as Alexandria Project field work begins, the Shumla Board of Directors and I will be launching the Alexandria Project Pledge Drive. We are seeking supporters of who will pledge to donate to Shumla across all four years of the project from 2017 to 2020.

Join this epic effort! 
We're making history by saving history! 

Pledge donors will receive benefits for their generous four-year commitment to support Shumla's Alexandria Project. Check out our new webpage to learn more about the levels of giving and benefits. 

All 2017 gifts will be matched at 100% by a generous individual donor. She pledged to match up to $100,000! 

And, I pledge to you that Shumla will identify a match for all four years of the Alexandria Project. So, when you select your four year pledge amount, double it! That is the difference you can make for Shumla!

Feel free to contact me directly at jlee@shumla.org to learn more about becoming an Alexandria Project Pledge Donor.

We are counting on each of you to make this project and the achievement of our mission possible. Thank you!
 
All the very best,
Jessica Lee
 
 
 
PLEASE MAKE A FOUR-YEAR PLEDGE TODAY!
 
To make a four-year pledge gift you can give via:
  • CHECK: Send your first year gift by check to Shumla P.O. Box 627, Comstock, TX 78837. Note your annual pledge amount and we will remind you each year of the Alexandria Project when it's time to send your annual gift.
  • ONLINE - MONTHLY: Click the button below and elect a "Monthly Donation." Divide your chosen annual gift amount by 12. This amount will be deducted monthly for the four years of the project.
  • ONLINE - ANNUALLY: Click the button below and elect a "One Time Donation." Enter your chosen annual gift and then in the "Designate my Donation" space type the word "Pledge" and we will remind you when it's time to make your annual gift each year.
THANK YOU FROM THE BOTTOM OF OUR HEARTS!
 
 
We are so pleased to announce... 
Dr. Karen Steelman has been promoted to Shumla Research Director. 
 
Karen has been working in collaboration with Carolyn Boyd and Shumla's Research Team for many years. She has been Shumla's Assistant Research Director for the past seven months, training under Carolyn Boyd for the Research Director position. There is no one better, more qualified or more passionate about Shumla's work to take over the reins of Shumla's Research Team. Karen will continue to collaborate with Carolyn, in her new role as the Shumla Endowed Research Professor at Texas State University. What a powerhouse pair of dynamite researchers to lead Shumla and guide our efforts to achieve our mission.
 
Congratulations, Karen! 
 
 
Karen at the campsite getting ready for the day.
Karen's Australian Adventure 
 
Karen spent three weeks of June gathering rock art paint samples in north Australia for plasma oxidation preparation and radiocarbon dating.
 
The field work was part of an Australian Research Council grant, "More than artefacts: contemporary Indigenous relationships to rock art". The project focuses on the analysis of rock art styles as well as exploring spatial and chronological distribution patterns across the landscape. These are some of the same types of research questions we are working on here in the Lower Pecos Canyonlands. We are excited about this collaboration with Australian researchers and the SW Gulf of Carpentaria aboriginal communities!
 
Here are some pictures from Karen's trip!
 
Karen's first day - trying to stay awake in Sydney.
 
This shark painting is approximately 40 inches long.
 
Karen and her colleagues in the field taking paint samples. (Left: Amanda Kearney of the University of New South Wales. Right: Liam Brady of Monash University).

Traveling deep into the back country of the aboriginal community of Borroloola to rock art sites.
 
Rock art images shown next to the image using d-stretch to bring out colors difficult to see with the naked eye.
 
From Borroloola, Karen's small team took a dinghy to the Pellew Island group in the Gulf of Carpentaria at the mouth of the McArthur River. This was their amazing camp site on the beach!
 
Not a bad place to watch the sunset.
Spotlight on Jerod Roberts

Photographer Extraordinaire 

Archaeologist Jerod Roberts joined our team as an intern in 2014 and became a full-time employee in early 2015. Like his lovely wife, Vicky Roberts, who was highlighted in last month's eNews, Jerod came to Shumla with a passion for improving our methods and increasing his knowledge. The focus of his study has been photography.
 
During his first weeks at Shumla, he was working in the field and taking Munsell color data on rock art. He thought there must be an easier and more objective way to collect color data, and he was right! This led him down the rabbit hole of color management. After reading multiple books on color management, he discovered that it all starts with photography, which he knew little about. He became obsessed with learning Shumla's equipment, what would improve Shumla images, and how to standardize our photography further. 
 
Jerod said of this experience, "Although I fell into my role as Shumla photographer, I love it and know there is always room to improve! Unfortunately, this has also sparked an incredibly expensive personal hobby!" 
 
We are so lucky to have Jerod as a Shumla Archaeologist and our resident photography expert. His research has led to some really fantastic updates to our photography that will make our images higher quality and longer lasting. This kind of contribution to our team and to our photographs is priceless. 
Thank you, Jerod!!
 
Make Us Smile!
 
Wanna do some good with every Amazon purchase you make? Designate Shumla as your charity on Amazon Smile. We'll receive .5% of every purchase you make at no additional cost to you. 
 
Want to send Shumla a present? Check out our Amazon Wish List!

Thank you!
Visit Del Rio!

Come for the rock art, stay for the atmosphere! The rock art of the Lower Pecos could not be situated in a more beautiful setting. The desert is vast here, with huge skies and rolling hills that meet the crystal blue waters of the Amistad Reservoir. After you've visited the rock art, you can bird watch, water ski, bass fish, and then go camping for the night. Or you might like to visit the quaint shops of Del Rio's old town and drink wine at the Val Verde winery. In Del Rio there are lots of comfy places to stay and yummy places to eat. And you'll always find a warm welcome. Come and see!
 
Shumla's "Visit" webpage offers more information about how to enjoy a trip to the Lower Pecos Canyonlands. Check it out!
 


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