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FUN FOOD FACT(S) - History of the Spoon

Around 8000 years ago, throughout the Neolithic world a new type of artefact appeared, small spoons masterly made from cattle bone. Researchers assumed these were baby spoons and set out to prove or disprove the theory.

They compared 2230 marks on three spoons from the Neolithic site of Grad-Starčevo in Serbia (5800−5450 cal BC) with 3151 primary teeth marks produced experimentally. The study has showed that some of the marks on spoons were made by primary teeth, which indicate their usage in feeding babies. The production of a new type of artefact to feed babies is probably related to the appearance of a new type of weaning food, and the abundance of spoons indicates that new baby gruels became an important innovation in prehistoric baby-care.

This is important because this is one of the major turning points in human history was the process of Neolithization, which brought about important changes in the lifestyle of prehistoric people. A series of transformations, such as a more sedentary way of life, plant and animal domestication were followed by the ‘Neolithic Demographic transition’. The Neolithic Demographic Transition refers to the increase of fertility in farming communities in prehistory which made a dramatic impact on the demography of Neolithic populations. The current assumption on the causes which enabled women have more children include several changes in maternal behavior: reduced mobility (increased sedentism), a shift towards consumption of higher calorie cereal food and a reduction of the length of lactation. As a consequence of those changes, the increase in the number of babies resulted in a rapid and unprecedented population growth.

For too long archeology didn’t focus on women or children in the relics of time, but something so simple as the invention of a spoon, allowed more members of a community to support feeding babies. And anytime you give women support for child rearing, society benefits as a whole.

The invention of the spoon – a feminist icon.

Thank you for coming to my TED talk.


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