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Speakers' Series

2018-2019 Schedule

The White Shaman Mural: An Enduring Creation Narrative in the Rock Art of the Lower Pecos

Carolyn BoydSpeaker: Carolyn Boyd | Shumla Endowed Research Professor Research Associate Professor Archaeology, Texas State University
Date/Time: Friday, October 12, 2018 | 3:00 pm
Location: Evans Liberal Arts 114

The prehistoric hunter-gatherers of the Lower Pecos Canyonlands of Texas and Coahuila, Mexico, created some of the most spectacularly complex 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 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.

Speaker: Marcus Hamilton | Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology, The University of Texas at San Antonio
Date/Time: Friday, November 9, 2018 | 3:00 pm
Location: Evans Liberal Arts 114

Speaker: Mariela Nuñez-Janes, Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology, The University of Texas at San Antonio
Date/Time: Friday, March 8, 2019
Location: ELA 114

The Human Journey: A Genetic Odyssey

Spencer WellsSpeaker: Spencer Wells | Founder and CEO of Insitome and Adjunct Professor of Integrated Biology at the University of Texas, Austin
Date/Time: Friday, April 12, 2019 | 3:00 pm
Location: Evans Liberal Arts 114

Spencer Wells is a geneticist, anthropologist, author and entrepreneur. For over a decade he was an Explorer-in-Residence at the National Geographic Society and Director of the Genographic Project, which collected and analyzed DNA samples from hundreds of thousands of people around the world in order to decipher how our ancestors populated the planet, in the process launching the consumer genomics industry. Wells graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Texas at Austin, received his Ph.D. from Harvard University and conducted postdoctoral work at Stanford and Oxford. He has appeared in numerous documentary films and is the author of three books, The Journey of Man, Deep Ancestry and Pandora's Seed. His work has taken him to more than 100 countries, where he has collaborated with everyone from heads of government and Fortune 500 corporations, to tribal chieftains eking out a precarious living in places as remote as Chad, Tajikistan and Papua New Guinea. He lives in Austin, Texas, where he is founder and CEO of consumer genomics startup Insitome, an adjunct Professor at the University of Texas and owner of the iconic blues club Antone’s.

Spring 2018

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Fall 2017

Spring 2017

Fall 2016

Spring 2016

For information concerning the speakers series contact Dr. Nicole Taylor at