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Who Invented the First Shovel?

This one's for the East Coasters, who undoubtedly have this thought in mind when they shovel their way out of mounds of glorious snow (California perspective here, folks): "Who invented the shovel, so I can thank them for such a wonderful invention, as I dig my way out of mounds of dreadful snow?"

Bjorn Carey of Life's Little Mysteries did the detective work:

Like many East Coasters, I spent just a little bit of time digging out from this past weekend's snow storm. As I stabbed my wood and aluminum shovel at a hip-high snow bank, I couldn't help but marvel at the tool I was using. So simple, yet so useful.

The first known shovels, I found out in the Concise Oxford Dictionary of Archaeology, were discarded ox scapula (shoulder blades) that folks in Neolithic and Early Bronze Age Britain used to move soil and rocks. 5,000 years ago, people probably didn't need to clear a path through snow drifts to get to their car, but I'd bet that they used these tools to push around snow, too.


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I'm sure they've been around for as long as humans have used tools. It's almost instinctive to pick up a large flat object to dig with.
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Knowing nothing more about shovels, I can only offer the knowledge that the wheelbarrow was invented to teach the Irish to walk upright on their hind legs. It is also known in the Socialized Medicine realm of Great Britian as an "Irish Walker".
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