Snake with tounge

This is an elongated item which is made on rod-shaped ivory fragment. It has a clearly defined head, a back and a "tummy". The head is decorated with rows of "cupulas". Also there is an image of "jaws". But after the decoration was done, the head was broken off. A channel, which is at the place of the break, connects the right part and the left part of the jaws. There is an open oval next to it which consists of parallel round lines and may be a "tounge". The back of the figurine is decorated with transverse lines. In the tail part, there is a hole. 

Manufacturing technique

General shaping of the surface was made with a push-plane. There are some traces of scraping on the "tummy". The back was presumably treated in the same way but then the surface was covered with the ornament and traces of polishing. Lines-ornament was made with a knife which was used as a saw (reciprocating motion). On some areas we can see incomplete cut marks which means that cutting began from the left side. The interval between the cut marks is various, from 5.04 to 2.22 mm, thickness is 1.5 mm. 

The indentations on the head were made with a reamer at a high quality. The "jaws" were made with a knife (probably, with the same knife as the whole decoration was made). The right and the left parts of the "jaws" are connected by a channel which is made with a cutting tool. 

There are some traces of cutting tool at the neck (it can probably be hair). Also we can see the traces of planning knife working under the neck. The hole, which is in the tail part, is widen with a knife. 

Use-wear traces

There are traces of polishing from both sides of the item. This may be a result of a contact with organic soft material. 

Storage location

The State Hermitage Museum

Inventory number


The Museum KAMIS



Length – 106.54 mm

Width – 15.36 mm




19-23 th. years BP


Mal'ta-Buret' archaeological culture

The author of the excavations

Gerasimov M. M.


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