Uncovering America's Heritage... Coin by Coin
2008 Arizona Quarter
June's coin, the Arizona Quarter, features a banner that proclaims its nickname, "The Grand Canyon State." Indeed, the Grand Canyon is Arizona's most famous natural feature. There are other sights in Arizona, like the painted desert and Hoover Dam, but what could be grander than the Grand Canyon?!
The year the Grand Canyon became a national park (1919), 44,173 people stopped by to see it. Today, Grand Canyon National Park receives close to five million visitors each year. Artifacts found in the canyon show that people have lived in it for nearly 12,000 years. Still, only about 3 percent of the huge park has been researched.
Split–twig figurines made 2,000 to 4,000 years ago have been found in Grand Canyon caves. Each figurine is made from one twig, often willow, split down the middle, and then carefully bent into animal shapes. First found in 1933, these figurines are often shaped to look like deer or bighorn sheep, sometimes pierced with another stick, resembling a spear.
No one knows what they were for, but they were probably not toys. They have been found in hidden caves, usually under rock cairns (man-made piles), indicating that they were placed there carefully. You can see some of these amazing ancient figurines in the museum on the South Rim of the park.
So it's not just the views that make the Grand Canyon so great. It also holds treasures of history, geology, nature, and more!