Tel Lachish, Israel (AFP) — A rare inscription that sheds new light on the use of Canaanite language some 3,700 years ago has been discovered on an ivory comb in southern Israel, archaeologists said Wednesday.
The comb was found at the Tel Lachish site in 2017, but the letters were not noticed until earlier this year following further examination, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem said in a statement.
The artefact provides “direct evidence” of the use of the Canaanite alphabet in daily life, said Yosef Garfinkel, an archaeology professor at Hebrew University.
The 17 letters inscribed on the comb, which was used to remove lice, form seven words that translate to “May this tusk root out the lice of the hair and the beard,” the statement said.
“This is the first sentence ever found in the Canaanite language in Israel,” Garfinkel noted, calling it “a landmark in the history of the human ability to write”.