An image the Split Twig figurine
Split-twig Figurine

Split-twig Figurine
Split-willow figurine with six body wraps and seven neck wraps. Note the artiodactyl dung pellets inside the body cavity. (Artiodactyls are even toed ungulates, such as deer or desert bighorn sheep.)
Desert Culture, Archaic period, 6,500 BC - 500 AD
H 12.7, L 15.5, twig diameter 0.5, cm.
GRCA 30094
Grand Canyon National Park
Photo credit: Michael Quinn, Grand Canyon National Park Museum Photographer

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Split-twig figurines are prehistoric animal effigies made from a single twig or branch, often willow or squawbush. They are constructed by splitting the twig for most of its length and fashioning the split portions into the shape of an animal resembling a deer or bighorn sheep. The figurines sometimes exhibit horns or antlers. Occasionally, they are pierced with another stick, resembling a spear, or are stuffed with mountain sheep dung.

In 1933, split-twig figurines were first recognized in caves within the Grand Canyon. Since that time, numerous caves and rock shelters containing split-twig figurines have been discovered.


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