| Animal traction |
Illustrations on the walls of Egyptian tombs show farmers using animal traction from as early as 1400 B.C. In these hieroglyphics the handle of a hand-held hoe was extended and lashed to the horns of oxen with rope. These illustrations also show humans pulling plows.
The first plows, pulled by people or animals, probably were not used to break the soil but to stir soil which had already been loosened by hand-held hoes. Animals were used to pull branches across a seedbed in order to cover the scattered seed.
In the transition from manual hoeing to human or animal traction, the basic "elbow" or "checkmark" design of the hoe did not change. What changed was the method of pulling. Instead of being pulled in a series of short, individual strokes or chops, the hoe was pulled continuously. It was this continuous motion which transformed the hoe into the "plow".