There is no such thing as a new idea. Over the weekend, a photo of an artifact described as a "spinning toy with animal heads" was posted on Reddit. The image quickly went viral when people started suspecting that they were looking at the oldest known fidget spinner in human history.
The 4,000-year-old "spinning toy," currently located in the Oriental Institute Museum in Chicago, dates back to 2000-1800 B.C. from Mesopotamia's Isin-Larsa period. And while the device does bear a striking resemblance to the now-infamous fidget spinner, the museum's chief curator Jean Evans told the Verge that the item in question may have been part of a weapon—more specifically, the head of a mace. A mace is basically a thin club used for bashing someone or something. By adding a weighted and/or intricately designed attachment at the end, such as this "spinning toy," the person wielding the mace can inflict more damage.
"We do have toys that survive from ancient Mesopotamia—baked clay rattles, whistles, animal figurines, and wheeled carts, to name a few," Evans said. "But the fact that this 'spinning toy' would be a largely singular example of such a toy also suggests to me that it would be more accurate to think of it as a mace head."
As for why the museum is describing this artifact as a toy, Evans said, "All I can say is that our ideas change over time. 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.'" Little did they know in 1932 that they had one of this year's most popular (and annoying) toys.