Archaeologists from Israel have discovered an ancient comb that has what they believe is the oldest complete sentence written in Canaanite alphabetical script.
The 3,700-year-old comb’s inscription tells people to comb their hair and beards to get rid of lice, The Associated Press reported.
The sentence reads: “May this tusk root out the lice of the hair and the beard.”
The comb, according to those who studied it, is made from elephant ivory and remnants of head lice were found in the comb’s broken teeth.
The sentence shows how the Canaanite alphabet was used, a system that eventually evolved into other languages that use alphabets such as Hebrew, Arabic, Greek, Latin and Cyrillic, the AP reported.
The comb was found in 2016 at Tel Lachish, a site in southern Israel, but last year a professor noticed the carving was “shallowly incised,” according to research recently published in the Jerusalem Journal of Archaeology.
Hebrew University archaeologist Yosef Garfinkel, one of the comb’s researchers and study authors, said that there have been many artifacts that have Canaanite script but the comb is the first with a complete sentence.
It also shows how people lived and learned in ancient times.
The comb was found in the city’s palace and temple district. Garfinkel believes that it supports the belief that only wealthy men could read and write.
While researchers have a ballpark idea of what era the comb is from, they don’t have an exact age, as the carbon dating couldn’t give a specific time. The inscription dates to approximately 1700 B.C., but the comb was found in an area with a later archaeological context.
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