So, what is an ard...??
"Anthropology Review Database" forms the acronym "ARD", a word with a history. Today, the word ard is seldom used outside of archaeological circles. It derives from the old Norse word, arder. The word is now used to describe a "primitive" form of plow that has no wheel or moldboard, and hence is not capable of turning a proper furrow. Ards are limited to the cultivation of lighter soils because they cannot cut very deep; typically cross- plowing (two perpendicular sets of cuts) was used to compensate. The ard, also called a scratch-plow, is still an important tool in the Mediterranean and Near East. The image at left (DeVinne 1987:97) as well as that used for our banner on the main page, shows a Moroccan farmer using an ard. Note that the ground is barely being cut -- there is no turned soil visible.The ard, detailed at right (Sherratt 1980:370), is a simple device, a combination of a sharpened plowshare to cut the soil, a plowstaff (handle) to guide its path, and the long shaft, or plow beam, leading to the draft animal or people who pulled it. First recognised in the 4th millenium BC, from plough scars and actual finds on northern European Bronze Age sites, and representations in the Near East, the device remained in common use right into the early Middle Ages. It was replaced by a more sophisticated plow with a colter (metal cutting blade) mounted in front of the plowshare to break up the sod so the plow could penetrate more effectively. Otherwise plows changed very little until recent times with the addition of a wheel and a curled ploughshare or moldboard to turn the soil over.
- Further Reading:
- Bahn, Paul (ed)
- 1993 Collins Dictionary of Archaeology. ABC-CLIO. Santa Barbara, California. (p.30)
- Bray, Warwick and David Trump
- 1970 The American Heritage Guide to Archaeology. American Heritage Press. New York. (p.182)
- Sherratt, Andrew (ed)
- 1980 Cambridge Encyclopedia of Archaeology. Cambridge University Press, New York. (ard image p.370)
- DeVinne, Pamela (ed)
- 1987 American Heritage Illustrated Encyclopedic Dictionary. Houghton Mifflin, Boston. (Morocco scene p.97)
- Whitehouse, Ruth D. (ed)
- 1983 The Facts on File Dictionary of Archaeology. Facts on File Publications, New York. (p.28)
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