Closely associated with agriculture, this icon reminds us that the simple tool used to till topsoil is the basis for human interaction with the earth and the ensuing culture of stability punctuated by annual rhythms. Plowshares are among the very first metal tools, and brought with them a web of associated inventions. Simple, wooden handles enabled the first, grueling tilling of the soil. Harnessed to family members or slaves, plows became more powerful. With attendant animal domestication, productivity soared. Innovative plowshare geometries were synchronized to specific soils and climates. Special harnesses had to be custom fitted to the physiology of various draft animals. With mechanization, the ubiquitous farm tractor brought untold riches and efficiencies. Since settled agriculture arose during the Iron Age, and such communities and their surplus resources were tempting targets, swords and ploughshares have always competed for scarce iron. At the heart of modern tilling machines of all varieties lay sharpened metal tines closely related to the very first exemplars.