Travel Guides Crafted by Experienced Archaeologists & Historians

Art, History & Archaeology Sites & Museums

Utah has a number quite distinct geographic regions, parts of which may seem quite uninhabitable. Despite the impression of harsh conditions, people having been living in Utah for at least 12,000 years. These inhabitants created some of the finest rock art traditions in North America. And they built domestic and ceremonial structures in some truly spectacular and incredible settings. The state of Utah, which in 1896 became the 45th state to be admitted to the Union of United States, includes eight different Native Nations, each with their own traditions and heritage. There are five national parks (Utah’s Big Five), 45 state parks and eight national monuments.

Archaeology & History Sites in Utah

Great Gallery, Horseshoe Canyon

Horseshoe Canyon has one of the finest and most well known rock art sites in North America. On a rock shelter wall at the bend in the canyon creek is the largest panel of the Barrier Canyon style pictographs. Here there is a panel that is over 60 metres long and about 4.6 metres high – commonly referred to as Horseshoe Canyon’s Great Gallery. Painted on the rock shelter wall are about 20 life-sized human-like images, the largest being over 2 m in height. On the far left of the Great Gallery are a handful of strikingly shapeless figures. As they seem to ‘hover’ on the rock face, these figures are said to have a ghostly appearance, and are sometimes called the ‘holy ghosts’.

Hovenweep National Monument

The Hovenweep National Monument encompasses six prehistoric villages that were built during the 13th century. These were inhabited by the people archaeologists now call Ancestral Puebloans, although there is also evidence of older hunter-gatherer activity on the site. Particularly impressive are the multi-story towers perched atop the boulders overlooking the epic Colorado landscape. Some visitors choose to camp at the site, with some limited facilities available for this.

Museums & Art Galleries in Utah

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