The Dye Clan
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  • TR: Apr 2012
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Sego Canyon

Fremont petroglyphs in Sego Canyon.

Sego Canyon, near Thompson Springs, has several petroglyph and pictograph panels from the Fremont culture, Archaic period, Barrier Canyon period, and the Ute tribe. There is also a small ghost town with several decaying buildings.

Trip Report: April 14, 2012

Sego Canyon

The name "Sego Canyon Petroglyphs" is a bit confusing because the petroglyphs and pictographs are actually located in Thompson Canyon, which is right next to Sego Canyon. There are several types of rock art representing several different Indian cultures. The main panels are accessed from the parking area at 39? 1'5.67"N, 109?42'34.94"W.

Sego Canyon

General Information

The sandstone cliffs that stand above you like a wall became an outdoor art gallery, or a holy place. Native Americans painted and chipped their religious visions, art symbols, or records of events onto the cliffs. There are three distinct styles present which represent three seperate cultures and time periods known to have been in the area during the past several thousand years.

This impressive site which is on the National Register of Historic Places, is undergoing a long term conservation and preservation treatment. The Antiquities Act of 1906 and the Archaeological Resources Protection Act provides for serious penalties to vandals. To ensure the ancient art's preservation, please do not touch it, as oils in our skin cause the delicate paints and rock surface to deteriorate. Many recent signatures are present. Why did others sign their names at the valuable site? One can only speculate, please do not add your signature or try to remove any of the signatures.

Indian rock art should be left undisturbed for future visitors to enjoy and scientest to study. It is best to visit this site as one does a museum: look but do not touch. Please remember to take nothing but photographs, leave nothing by footprints.

Sego Canyon

Ute Rock Art

The Historic Ute rock art is identified and dated by the horse and rider figures. Horses were introduced to North America by the Spanish in the sixteenth century. Other figures, or elements, painted in red and white on the panel include a white bison, a human figure with leggings, several large human figures, and large circles believed to be shields. The Ute people practiced a hunting and gathering lifeway. They used the bow and arrow, made baskets and brownware pottery, and lived in brush wickiups and tipis. The No-tah (Ute people) lived freely throughout western Colorado and eastern Utah until about 1880, when they were forced onto reservations.

Sego Canyon
Sego Canyon
Sego Canyon

Fremont

The Fremont Culture thrived from about A.D. 600 to A.D. 1250, and was contemporary with the Anasazi Culture of the Four Corners area. It is distinguished by its remarkable rock art. Like the Anasazi, the Fremont planted corn and lived in pithouses and surface stone structures. They constructed a distinctive basketry and made pottery. They had a complex social structure, as is illustrated in their rock art, and were highly adaptive to the extremes of their environment. At the top of the panel are the oldest figures. These are the line of large, red-painted figures with the rectangular bodies and small heads, which are similar to the Anasazi Basketmaker style. Superimposed on the older, painted figures is a line of carved (pecked) human figures. Typically, these have trapezoids for the head and body. The most recent Fremont period is also represented by superimposed carvings. They are deeply grooved outlines of two life-sized human figures with collars and waistbands and the associated mountain sheep and abstract elements. This last group is representative of the Classic Fremont Style.

Sego Canyon
Sego Canyon
Sego Canyon
Sego Canyon

Barrier Canyon

Some of the most spectaculat example of rock art in the Southwest are attributed to Archaic people. Archaic people were nomads, hunting large and small game animals, collecting and processing wild plants. They did not build permanent habitation structures but lived in caves and in small brush shelters built in the open. They occupied this area from approximately 8,000 years ago until the introduction of corn agriculture about 2,000 years ago.

This rock are, the Barrier Canyon Style, usually consists of larger than life size anthropomorphic (manlike) forms. the identifying characteristic of the figures is hollowed eyes or missing eyes, the frequent absence of arms and legs, and the presence of vertical body markings. This panel is characterized by at least 19 painted anthropomorphs with bug-eyes, antennae, earrings, snakes in hand, and leg-less torsos. The "ghost-like" images may represent shamanistic art associated with ritual activities of the Archaic people.

Sego Canyon
Sego Canyon
Sego Canyon
Sego Canyon
Sego Canyon
Sego Canyon
Sego Canyon

Thompson Canyon Arch

The Thompson Canyon Arch is located at 39? 1'4.76"N, 109?42'30.60"W.

Sego Canyon

Additional Petroglyph Panels

Located along the cliffs next to the corral: 39? 1'9.97"N, 109?42'35.76"W.

Sego Canyon
Sego Canyon
Sego Canyon
Sego Canyon
Sego Canyon

Sego Canyon Cemetary

Apparently there's a tombstone with a funny message, but we didn't see it. Located at: 39? 1'24.21"N, 109?42'38.76"W.

Sego Canyon
Sego Canyon
Sego Canyon

Sego Ghost Town

The Sego Ghost Town is a bit spread out. There a couple of small buildings at 39? 1'56.13"N, 109?42'17.57"W.

Sego Canyon
Sego Canyon

This building didn't fare too well when a large boulder rolled on the roof.

Sego Canyon
Sego Canyon
Sego Canyon
Sego Canyon
Sego Canyon

An old bridge at 39? 1'59.88"N, 109?42'14.24"W.

Sego Canyon

Several buildings and two cars at 39? 2'1.16"N, 109?42'10.56"W.

Sego Canyon
Sego Canyon
Sego Canyon
Sego Canyon
Sego Canyon
Sego Canyon
Sego Canyon
Sego Canyon

A house at 39? 1'21.62"N, 109?42'39.48"W.

Sego Canyon
Sego Canyon
Sego Canyon
Sego Canyon

Trip Report: June 12, 2014