Lecture Title: The White Shaman Mural: An Enduring Creation Narrative in the Lower Pecos Canyonlands of Texas
Speaker: Dr. Carolyn E. Boyd, Research Director a
nd founder of Shumla Archaeological Research and Education Center
Location: Riverside Nature Center – 150 Francisco Lemos, Kerrville, Texas 78028
The prehistoric hunter-gatherers of the Lower Pecos Canyonlands of Texas and Coahuila, Mexico, created some of the most spectacularly complex, colorful, extensive, and enduring rock art of the ancient world. Perhaps the greatest of these masterpieces is the White Shaman mural, an intricate painting that spans some twenty-six feet in length and thirteen feet in height on the wall of a shallow cave overlooking the Pecos River. In discussing the White Shaman Mural, Carolyn E. Boyd takes us on a journey of discovery as she builds a convincing case that the mural tells a story of the birth of the sun and the beginning of time—making it possibly the oldest pictorial creation narrative in North America.
Unlike previous scholars who have viewed Pecos rock art as random and indecipherable, Boyd demonstrates that the White Shaman mural was intentionally composed as a visual narrative, using a graphic vocabulary of images to communicate multiple levels of meaning and function. Drawing on twenty-five years of archaeological research and analysis, as well as insights from ethnohistory and art history, Boyd identifies patterns in the imagery that equate, in stunning detail, to the mythologies of Uto-Aztecan speaking peoples, including the ancient Aztec and the present-day Huichol. This paradigm-shifting identification of core Mesoamerican beliefs in the Pecos rock art reveals that a shared ideological universe was already firmly established among foragers living in the Lower Pecos region as long as four thousand years ago.
Dr. Boyd will be doing a book selling and signing after her presentation.
Dr. Carolyn E. Boyd is the Research Director and founder of a nonprofit corporation, Shumla Archaeological Research and Education Center (www.shumla.org). The organization’s mission is to preserve through documentation and education the prehistoric art of southwest Texas and Coahuila, Mexico. She serves as Research Professor at Texas State University. Boyd received her doctorate in archaeology from Texas A&M University based on her analysis of the 4,000 year-old rock art of the Lower Pecos Canyonlands of southwest Texas. She is the author of Rock Art of the Lower Pecos, published in 2003 by Texas A&M University Press and The White Shaman Mural: An Enduring Creation Narrative, available through the University of Texas Press in the fall of 2016. She has published in numerous peer reviewed journals, such as Antiquity, American Antiquity, Latin American Antiquity, Revista Iberoamericana de Lingüística, and Archaeometry and has contributed chapters in several edited volumes. Boyd teaches Field Methods in Rock Art, a three-week field school offered through Texas State University, gives numerous lectures around the country and abroad, serves on graduate committees, and is the Principal Investigator for the Lower Pecos Border Canyonlands Archaeological Project.