A history of the world through 100 objects: bird-shaped pestle
Early farmers in Papua New Guinea used this bird-shaped pestle to grind the vegetable taro in a mortar. It is about 9,000 years old. Papua New Guinea was one of seven locations where farming developed after the last Ice Age.
“This shows that humans had a competitive advantage over animals because we prepared food before we ate it,” says Becky Allen, the show’s curator.
However, this particular item also shows a sophistication because the pestle’s long neck meant it was too delicate to be used regularly and its bird shape suggests it may have been used for pounding food on special occasions.
Published: May 19, 2014 04:00 AM