Object of the Month

Shovel, UK

This shovel was discovered during excavations at the stone circle and earthworks in Avebury, Wiltshire in 1909 and dates to around 2900-2600 BC. It is made from the scapula (shoulder blade) of an ox. The shape of this bone naturally lends itself to being used as a shovel and it is likely to have been bound to a wooden haft to create a functional tool. Shovels like this one were probably used to remove soil and rubble. Lt. General Pitt-Rivers was very interested in experimental archaeology. He made and used reproduction scapula shovels including this one in our collection. 

Donated by the Council of the British Association for the Advancement of Science in 1926; 1926.50.3.

Find this object in a new display of Archaeology in the Upper Gallery as part of the VERVE: Need / Make / Use project.