Glen Canyon has been periodically used by a a variety of human groups from about 11,500 years ago through the present. Currently these groups are classified by archeologists into a system that divide the Native American culture history of Glen Canyon into five different temporal and/or cultural periods.
ca. 11,500–8,050 BCE (Before Common Era)
ca. 8,050–400 BCE
Preformative or Basketmaker II period
ca. 400 BCE–500 CE (Common Era)
Late Prehistoric period
This span can roughly be divided into early and late subdivision by the expedition of Dominguez and Escalante in 1776, and its termination roughly coinciding with Mormon exploration and colonization of southern Utah. The Spanish Friars expedition is the only documented Spanish incursion into the immediate area. Other historic activities unfold through periods of government expeditions, Indian wars, Mormon settlement, gold mining, mineral exploration, and finally, recreational use.
Several different prehistoric cultures and current Native American groups are represented in the culture history of Glen Canyon, and the recreation area represents a cultural interface zone where different groups were periodically coming into contact with one another over long periods of time. Today, many modern descendants of these groups still have important cultural ties to the area, and specific places in Glen Canyon possess enormous ongoing cultural value to these groups.
In addition to the Native American presence in Glen Canyon, many historic sites are located in the recreation area, including early Latter Day Saints (LDS) settlements and later mineral exploration sites.
Last updated: July 14, 2019