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Moldboard plows.

The Slavs of eastern Europe were hard-working peasants who were exposed in their vast plains to invasion from the north and the east. Both the Goths and the Huns dominated them, and later on, so would other invaders. (The word slave may have come from Slav because they seemed so easily enslaved.) Nevertheless, they endured and multiplied and contributed an important advance.

About 600, they are supposed to have invented the moldboard plow. This had a knife blade, or coulter, that cut deep into the ground, a plowshare that cut grass and stubble at ground level, and a shaped moldboard above the plowshare that lifted and turned the soil. This was a useful device for damp, moist ground. It wasn't needed in the light Mediterranean soil, but as it slowly spread through eastern and northern Europe, food production took a jump and population grew.

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Author:Asimov, Isaac
Publication:Asimov's Chronology of Science & Discovery, Updated ed.
Article Type:Reference Source
Date:Jan 1, 1994
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