During the Neolithic Era and the early Bronze Era people used shovels made of an ox’s shoulder blade in Britain while the Chinese were using spades that closely resembled our shovel of today as early as 1100 B.C.  Eskimo’s utilized the bones of whales and walruses as shovels to make igloos and for carving ice.

More than anything the use of the shovel was most prevalent in the field of construction.  Manual shovelling was the chief means of excavation in construction for an extensive period of time before mechanization and steam shovels came into play which was eventually phased out with the use of hydraulic equipment causing the shovel to be obsolete.  Shovels used by labor gangs played a significant role in many historic events such as the building of the roads of the great trans-continental railroad which required dug-in space for the tracks to be placed.

Shovels themselves haven’t seen much in the way of innovation since their conception other than the move from wood to sheet metal and hard plastics for more rigidity but thats kind of a cool thing; now when you’re out in your garden digging away you can consider the fact that you are participating in one of mankind’s oldest traditions with one of our earliest tools.  A tradition of gardening that  has been celebrated by people of all ages and ethnicities and levels of social standing for thousands of years.





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