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Saving the Rock Art of Texas: SAREC in Comstock

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Shumla Archaeological Research & Education Center is a global leader in rock art research and education, located in Comstock, at 28 Langtry Street. Using advanced science and technology, this group works to preserve the endangered cave and rock shelter murals of the Lower Pecos Canyonlands by creating a meticulous, searchable database which can be used for years to come, long after the paintings have disappeared. Originally a railroad section station, the name Shumla comes from a Turkish fort which was surrounded by hills much like those found near it.

Saving the Rock Art of Texas: SAREC in Comstock

Facebook/Amie Stone King

Called the oldest “books” in North America, the story of Shumla began over 4,000 years ago when the ancient inhabitants of this area began to paint on the limestone canyon walls their sophisticated myths and beliefs. Those myths are closely related to those of ancient and modern-day speakers of the “Uto-Aztecan” language family — including the Aztec encountered by the Spanish in the 1500s and the present-day Huichol of northwest Mexico. In 1998, artist-turned-archaeologist Dr. Carolyn Boyd founded the 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.

Saving the Rock Art of Texas: SAREC in Comstock

Facebook/Shumla Archaeological Research & Education Center

Many of these visual narratives are located on private property. The organization collaborates with landowners for access to rock art sites and documentation in a respectful and non-intrusive way. This remote region’s cultural treasure trove of rock art is open to visitors, volunteers, students, teachers, and researchers from around the world. Exhibits, publications, data, results, and methods are available to all. The Center is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Thursday. Plan a trip into the past. Be sure to call ahead so they know you are coming! Looking for a rock art tour? The Witte Museum offers tours of the White Shaman Galloway Preserve to the White Shaman Mural and other sites in the Lower Pecos, each Saturday at 12:30 PM, September through May.