The internet went into a frenzy this week after an image of a 4,000-year-old ‘fidget spinner’ on display at a museum went viral.
The picture, which was posted to Twitter and has now been shared by more than 37,000 people, showed a triangular clay museum piece labelled as a ‘spinning toy with animal heads’.
Many quickly described it as the ‘world’s first fidget spinner’
The caption posted alongside the image read: ‘Proof that there are no original ideas anymore.’
A museum curator has now claimed that the strange object was mislabeled and was used as the head of a mace-like weapon used by ancient soldiers.
The toy has three arms, just like a modern fidget spinner, and features a central depression that looks like a spinning pivot.
Dr Jean Evans, the chief curator at the Oriental Institute Museum, Chicago, where the object is on display, said he agrees that it looks like a fidget spinner.
The item has been mislabeled, a mistake that persists from the time of the object’s discovery, she said.
‘When the ‘spinning toy’ was first published in 1932, the excavators recognized that the object was unique and they speculated it might be rotated and used in ‘astrological divination’ suggesting the animals represented were a bull, ibex, and lion,’ Dr Evans said in a statement.
She added that the museum is planning to update the label soon.
A photo of a weapon head that looks very similar to the ‘spinning toy’ was provided alongside the statement as proof of Dr Evans’ theory.
WHAT IS THE OBJECT?
The object was found near a temple in the Shu-Sin Temple area in Iraq in the 1930’s.
It sits in the Mesopotamian gallery at the Oriental Institute Museum, Chicago, which dates it to 2,000 to 1,800 BC.
A museum curator has said that the strange object was incorrectly labelled and was in fact used as the head of a mace-like weapon.
A photo of a weapon head that looks very similar to the ‘spinning toy’ was provided alongside the statement as proof of the theory.
The statement added that the discovery of the object near a temple provides further evidence as maces were ‘considered weapons of the gods in the second millennium BC.’
The museum is planning to update the incorrect label soon.
Dr Evans told The Verge that plenty of toys have survived from ancient Mesopotamia, but a ‘spinning toy’ has never been found.
‘We have… baked clay rattles, whistles, animal figurines… but this ‘spinning toy’ would be a largely singular example of such a toy,’ she said.