(wind blowing) (ethereal music)>>THE ROCK ART HERE IN THE LOWER PECOS IS WORLD CLASS.>>MOST PEOPLE IN TEXAS HAVE NO IDEA THE TREASURE WITHIN THEIR BORDERS.>>THERE IS REALLY NOTHING LIKE IT ANYWHERE ELSE IN THE WORLD. IT BECOMES A WINDOW INTO THE PAST FOR US NOW.>>THE LOWER PECOS AREA OF WEST TEXAS, NEAR WHERE THE PECOS RIVER JOINS THE RIO GRANDE, IS WELL OFF THE BEATEN PATH TODAY. BUT THESE DESERT CANYONS WERE FAMILIAR TO SOME OF THE EARLIEST TEXANS.>>THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THIS AREA IS THESE ROCK SHELTERS AND CLIFF FACES. PEOPLE BEGINNING AT THE END OF THE LAST ICE AGE BEGAN SETTLING INTO THESE ROCK SHELTERS AND UTILIZING THE PLANTS, THE FISH, AND UPLAND RESOURCES. AND THESE THINGS PRESERVED FOR THOUSANDS OF YEARS.>>ARCHAEOLOGICAL REMAINS OF BONE AND STONE REVEAL HUMAN PRESENCE DATING BACK 12,000 YEARS. AND AT LEAST 4,000 YEARS AGO NATIVE PEOPLE BEGAN TO LEAVE THEIR MARK ON THE LANDSCAPE IN A DIFFERENT WAY, CREATING VIVID ROCK PAINTINGS THAT ENDURE TODAY. BUT WHAT DID THEY MEAN TO THE PEOPLE WHO MADE THEM?>>IT’S REALLY HARD TO STEP BACK 4,000 YEARS TO INTERPRET SOMETHING.>>THERE’S NO ROSETTA STONE. THERE’S NO WAY OF KNOWING ABSOLUTELY WHAT THIS MEANS. (wind)>>THOUGH SOME SECRETS OF THIS ARTWORK MAY NEVER BE UNLOCKED, ONE RESEARCHER IS DETERMINED TO DECIPHER THE IMAGES IN THESE ROCK SHELTERS. CAROLYN BOYD FIRST CAME TO THE LOWER PECOS IN THE LATE 1980’S.>>I WAS WORKING PROFESSIONALLY AS AN ARTIST AT THE TIME AND I CAME OUT BECAUSE I WAS CURIOUS ABOUT THE OLDEST ART THAT WE HAD IN OUR STATE. AND I BEGAN COMING OUT AND DOING SKETCHES OF THE ROCK ART AND WHAT I SAW WAS THAT RATHER THAN BEING JUST A RANDOM COLLECTION OF IMAGES, I WAS NOTICING COMPOSITIONS, PLANNED PAINTINGS, IF YOU WILL, MURALS. AND EVERYTHING THAT I WAS READING WAS CONTRARY TO THAT.>>THERE WERE SOME PEOPLE THAT DID NOT QUITE AGREE WITH HER. WE LOOKED AT THE ROCK ART AND SAID THIS IS GREAT, WE NEED TO RECORD IT BUT WE’LL NEVER UNDERSTAND IT. WHAT DOES SHE KNOW? SHE’S JUST AN ARTIST.>>I THOUGHT, WELL, I GUESS I NEED TO GO BACK TO SCHOOL. SO I WENT BACK TO SCHOOL AND GOT MY PhD IN ANTHROPOLOGY, BECAUSE I FELT THAT IF THEY ARE COMPOSITIONS THEN THEY CONTAIN AN AWFUL LOT OF INFORMATION TO BE ACCESSED.>>SHE CONVERTED ME IN A HURRY.>>IT’S JUST MAGNIFICENT. THAT’S WHERE WE’RE GOING TO GO FIRST.>>ACCESS TO THE PICTOGRAPHS HAS BEEN ONE OBSTACLE TO EXTENSIVE STUDY, SO PAINTED RENDERINGS AND PHOTOGRAPHS HAVE LONG BEEN IMPORTANT RESEARCH TOOLS. BUT THERE IS NO SUBSTITUTE FOR VIEWING THE SITES THEMSELVES.>>WE HAVE MORE ROCK ART HERE IN A 50 MILE RADIUS OF THE MOUTH OF THE PECOS THAN MOST ANY OTHER PLACE IN THE WORLD. I THINK THEY’VE GOT OVER 350 SITES DOCUMENTED AT THIS TIME.>>IS THAT ONE THAT’S GOING THIS WAY?>>PROBABLY 98, 99% OF THEM ARE PRIVATELY OWNED.>>IT’S SO PRETTY.>>SEMINOLE CANYON STATE PARK AND HISTORIC SITE, HOWEVER, IS ONE PLACE THAT SCHOLARS AND EVERYONE ELSE CAN SEE LOWER PECOS ROCK ART UP CLOSE.>>NOW ANOTHER SYMBOL IN THIS ROCK ART, THAT IS WHAT IS CALLED A CRENULATED ARCH. IT IS THERE TO REPRESENT THE PHYSICAL BARRIER BETWEEN THE REAL WORLD AND THE SPIRIT WORLD OR THE AFTERWORLD.>>YOU GO DOWN RIGHT IN THAT CANYON AND YOU STEP BACK 3,000, 4,000 YEARS. AND SO MANY TIMES I GET PEOPLE UP THERE AND YOU HEAR BACK IN THE BACKGROUND, ‘WOW.’ (laughs) YOU KNOW, THE HISTORY. YOU’RE IN THE BOOK, NOT READING IT.>>WHAT DO YOU SEE A LITTLE BIT HIGHER? ANTLERS. LOTS OF ANTLERS.>>WHILE CAROLYN BOYD CONTRIBUTES TO THE UNDERSTANDING OF LOWER PECOS ROCK ART IN THE ACADEMIC WORLD, SHE IS ALSO INCREASING AWARENESS IN THE LOCAL COMMUNITY.>>THESE KIDS ARE GOING TO HAVE TO KNOW HOW IMPORTANT THESE SITES ARE SO THEY CAN BE ABLE TO PROTECT THEM. AND THIS IS WHAT SHE’S DOING. (native flute and drum)>>FUNDED BY PRIVATE FOUNDATIONS, LOCAL SUPPORTERS, AND A COMMUNITY OUTDOOR OUTREACH GRANT FROM THE TEXAS PARKS AND WILDLIFE DEPARTMENT, BOYD’S NON-PROFIT SHUMLA SCHOOL HELPS LOCAL SCHOOL CHILDREN LEARN ABOUT THE PAST WHILE PREPARING THEM FOR THEIR FUTURES.>>SEE HOW IT SLICES THAT PIECE OFF?>>THE MISSION OF THE SHUMLA SCHOOL IS TO CONNECT PEOPLE OF ALL AGES WITH THE LAND AND WITH THEIR CULTURAL HERITAGE.>>OH IT’S COOL!>>YOU’LL LOAD THE ATL-ATL AND THEN GO FAR DISTANCE.>>BUT WE’RE TEACHING SCIENCE WITHIN THAT FRAMEWORK OF HERITAGE EDUCATION.>>GOOD TOSS. BEAUTIFUL.>>SO STUDENTS LEARN ABOUT THE NATIVE AMERICAN INSTRUMENTS THAT WERE USED IN THIS AREA AT THE SAME TIME THEY LEARN AND STUDY SOUND WAVES AND PITCH AND VOLUME. THEY LEARN ABOUT HOW THE NATIVE AMERICANS HERE STARTED FIRE. AT THE SAME TIME AS THEY LEARN ABOUT POTENTIAL AND KINETIC ENERGY.>>MAKING ALL THIS LEARNING FUN SEEMS TO YIELD RESULTS.>>OOOOH! (drumming)>>SINCE WE BEGAN OUR PROJECT WE’VE REACHED OVER 6,000 CHILDREN AND 4,000 ADULTS AND IT’S JUST CONTINUING TO GROW.>>YUCCA ROOT IS ALSO CALLED SOAP ROOT.>>WE HAVE SEEN AN INCREASE IN STUDENT SCORES ON THEIR SCIENCE TAKS TEST BY 12 PERCENTAGE POINTS IN JUST ONE YEAR OF PROGRAMS AT SHUMLA SCHOOL.>>AND SOME VERY VALUABLE KINDS OF LEARNING ARE DIFFICULT TO MEASURE.>>HOW DO YOU FEEL IF I DO THIS?>>(GASP) NO!>>HOW DO YOU FEEL?>>HORRIBLE. ANGRY.>>WHY?>>BECAUSE THEY WORKED FOR THAT.>>THEY WORKED REALLY HARD ON THAT. IT’S BEEN THERE FOUR THOUSAND YEARS AND I JUST RUINED IT IN A FEW SECONDS.>>THE ONLY WAY THAT WE’RE GOING TO PRESERVE THESE PAINTINGS IS THROUGH EDUCATION.>>ONCE THEY’RE GONE, THAT’S IT, UNFORTUNATELY, SO I THINK EDUCATING YOUNG PEOPLE AND OLD ALIKE IS VERY IMPORTANT.>>THIS IS SOMETHING I THINK WE NEED TO PROTECT FOR GENERATIONS, PRESERVE IT AS BEST AS WE CAN AND ENJOY IT WHILE WE STILL HAVE IT.>>FOR THE STEWARDS AND SCHOLARS OF ROCK ART, THERE IS STILL MUCH TO DISCOVER.>>THERE WILL ALWAYS BE SECRETS IN THESE PANELS, BUT WE ARE BEGINNING TO SOLVE THE MYSTERIES.>>AND WHILE LOOKING FOR ANSWERS, MANY, LIKE CAROLYN BOYD, HAVE FOUND THEIR CALLING, HERE IN THE LOWER PECOS.>>LET’S MOVE ON THIS WAY. TO SPEND TIME OUT IN THIS INCREDIBLE ENVIRONMENT AND HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO INTRODUCE OTHERS TO IT AS WELL, I DON’T THINK THERE’S ANYTHING I WOULD WANT TO DO MORE.

Author Since: Mar 11, 2019

  1. to quibble about Carolyn Boyd's contribution to our knowledge and understanding of this rock art is to simply not be familiar with her work. She has gone further and deeper into documentation and possible interpretation of this incredible art than anyone. If she hasn't yet published as much, it's because she's been actively researching in the field everyday for at least the past ten years. I hope you will become familiar with her book, however, published by Texas A&M Press.

  2. Thanks for the video- Great anti-graffiti demonstration in classroom scene-
    Bravo to the person who thought that up!

  3. 3:05 “I guess I need to go back to school”
    As if school is going to teach you what my elder has directly spoken to me about regarding what our ancestors left behind there on those walls and their meanings.
    Our people are dug up, lands ruined by pipelines, and now your interpreting what my ancestors left behind on the walls in Texas..if you only knew what it meant, you’d realize how silly you look.

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