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The White Shaman Mural

Lower Pecos River, near Del Rio.

By February 2017Comments

Photograph by Aaron Bates

The oldest manuscripts in North America aren’t stored in the halls of the Library of Congress or in the bowels of an ancient church but on the cliff walls high above the Lower Pecos River, near Del Rio. The great murals and pictorial narratives found there are visual texts created as far back as four thousand years ago by Native Americans, hunter-gatherer artists who transformed the region into a painted landscape. Now, after some 27 years of research, Carolyn Boyd and her fellow scientists at the Shumla Archaeological Research and Education Center, in Comstock, are breaking the code of these ancient drawings. Her team has found that among the rock art is a magnificent mural known as the White Shaman, which tells a story of creation, including how the sun was born and time began.

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  • quash8

    I see four sentences. Surely there’s more to the story. Reading on a mobile device.

  • D.J.

    Dr. Solveg Turpin and Jim Zintgraff researched the lower Pecos years, ago. My family was fortunate to follow Dr. Turpin and her University of Texas team on an expedition in that area. We actually rapelled into the cave where the White Shaman is. I’m so glad to know it has survived the elements and pollution. I urge those who want to learn more about the local pictographs to see Jim’s pictures in his book, Ancient Texans, which he collaborated with the Witte Museum.