In recent years, Del Rio has received national attention for its ancient rock art, which dates back as far as 4,000 years. The rock art findings have attracted archeologists from around the world, and they are being studied at the Shumla School Inc., a nonprofit archeological research and education center in nearby Comstock.
“There are hundreds of rock art sites in the Del Rio area, and new ones are being discovered each year,” says Dr. Carolyn Boyd, executive director of the Shumla School. “The oldest rock art, called Pecos River style, contains images of human-like forms, animals and all kinds of enigmatic imagery. These rock art panels are sometimes over 100 feet long and over 20 feet tall. They are painted in an array of earth colors — red, yellow, black, orange and white. A lot of the panels required native peoples to construct ladders and scaffolding.”
The Shumla School records the rock art through photography, illustrations and 3-D laser mapping. Since 2009, Shumla has archived more than 10,000 photos and illustrated more than 1,500 images. The school is always in need of volunteers to help with recording the rock art.
“Numerous famous rock art experts have said the rock art here is second to none in the world,” Boyd says. “In my travels abroad, I am often surprised to find there seem to be more people overseas who know about our art than people in our own community. I was just interviewed by Discover magazine, and they are doing a feature about it in summer 2011. I think Del Rio will see a tremendous increase in tourism as a result of increased awareness about the art.”
Former professors at Texas A&M University, Boyd and her husband moved to Comstock in 2003 to run the Shumla School.
“We love it here. It really still has that Wild West feel,” she says. “The people are fabulous, the landscape is breathtaking and the history is remarkable. What more could a person ask for?”
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