I am still off celebrating my birthday week. Since I am in my seventh decade, I get seven days. I started the practice way back when I was a youngster of 50. I took five days off each year during that decade and made darn sure they were work days. Being retired, I have more flexibility. (Grin) What this means now is that I am reposting another blog from my past. This one is from 2017 so several of you may have already seen it. Not to worry. These petroglyphs are alien enough they are worth visiting again. Looking at them again, I thought of the post I just did on shamans of Three Rivers. Check out the photo below. Does it get stranger than this? Enjoy.
Zipping along Interstate 70 in Utah, you might very well decide to take a detour and visit Arches and Canyonlands National Parks. It is a decision you will never regret. The odds are, however, that you will miss the small road that extends north of the Arches turnoff heading toward the town of Thompson Springs. In so doing so, you will miss the opportunity to visit one of the most magical and mysterious rock art sites in the Western United States: Sego Canyon.
Three different historical periods are represented in the rock art here dating back over a period of 6,000 years. The most fascinating to me are the pictographs left behind during the Archaic period by nomads who roamed the area from 8,000 to 2,000 years ago. The large, anthropomorphic forms that are painted on the rock normally lack eyes, arms and legs but may come with antennae, snakes and earrings. Known as the Barrier Canyon Style, it’s hard not to think of these pictographs as alien, or at least imagine a shaman encountering these creatures on a drug induced journey into an alien world.
The Fremont Culture took over from the Archaic period and lasted from 600 CE to 1200 CE. Unlike the nomadic Archaic peoples, the natives of the Fremont period grew corn, lived in permanent stone buildings, and had a complex social structure. Most of the rock art they left behind is in petroglyph form, pecked into rather than painted on the rock.
And finally, we have the more modern Ute Culture that populated the area from 1300 to 1880 CE, when the Utes were forced out of their homes and onto Indian Reservations so pioneers could grab their land. One way to distinguish petroglyphs from this period is the presence of horses, which the Spaniards brought to North America in the Sixteenth Century. In fact, horses are a major tool used in dating rock art.
NEXT POST: It’s all about snakes. I hope you like creepy crawlies. I do.