The Nine Mile Canyon in the Utah desert is the world’s longest & oldest ‘art gallery’

Paul Revere
 
 
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The Nine Mile Canyon is located deep in the Utah desert in the Western United States. It is known as “the world’s longest art gallery” because is filled with tens of thousands of petroglyphs and pictographs, some over a thousand years old.

Most of the art was created by the Fremont culture and the Ute people. This unique canyon is an international treasure.

 

 

Nine Mile Canyon is a step back in time. Photo Credit

Nine Mile Canyon is a step back in time. Photo Credit 

 

There are more then 10, 000 individual images. Photo Credit
There are more than 10, 000 individual images.
Photo Credit

The canyon is 40 miles long, so it’s not exactly clear why it’s called Nine Mile Canyon. The canyon became a main transport corridor in the region during the 1880s. In 1886, Nine Mile road was constructed through the canyon by the Buffalo Soldiers of the 9th Cavalry Regiment, linking Fort Duchesne to the railroad through the city of Price.

It was created by the Fremont an Ute Indians who occupied this area some 1, 000 years ago. Photo Credit

It was created by the Fremont and Ute Indians who occupied this area some 1, 000 years ago.
Photo Credit
For the Fremont culture the site was sacred. Photo Credit
For the Fremont culture, the site was sacred.
Photo Credit

The art left behind the Fremont make Nine Mile Canyon a destination for archaeologists and tourists alike. The panels of rock art are of such remarkable quality and beauty that they have been featured in National Geographic and other publications highlighting the beauty and uniqueness of the art.

Through this natural canvas, the indigenous people expressed the love and stories of their tribes to everyone who viewed this place in their time and beyond. Many of the drawings depict hunting scenes and animal life. There are many birds, bighorn sheep, lizards, and bisons. Analysis of the location of hunting and hunting related sites shows that they tend to occur in clusters at or near the mouths of several side canyons.

Nine Mile Canyon is protected by the Antiquities Act. Photo Credit

Nine Mile Canyon is protected by the Antiquities Act.
Photo Credit
Detail of the rock art. Photo Credit
Detail of the rock art.
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The rock art of the canyon is at risk. It is carved and painted mainly on weathered sandstone panels, the images are susceptible to erosion, which is accelerated by touching and airborne dust. The dust is a special concern as heavy industrial traffic in the canyon increases.

The land is held by a variety of state and federal authorities. Photo Credit
The land is held by a variety of state and federal authorities.
Photo Credit

In 2004, due to concerns about energy development and increasing recreational and tourist traffic, the site was added to the “America’s List of 11 Most Endangered Historic Sites” by Historic Preservation.