Thousands of years old comb reveals harsh reality of ancient times — RT World News


Earliest known phrase in Canaanite language is a plea against head and beard lice, researchers have found

The first known phrase written in the language of the Canaanites, a people who once inhabited the ancient Near East, turned out to be a phrase directed at lice, a team of Israeli and American researchers revealed on Wednesday.

According to a study published in the Jerusalem Journal of Archaeology, a 17-letter inscription on an ivory comb, dating to around 1700 BC. J.-C., reads as follows:May this defense uproot lice from hair and beard.

“The letters form seven words which, for the first time, provide us with a complete and reliable sentence in a Canaanite dialect, written in the Canaanite script”, said the researchers, led by archaeologist Yosef Garfinkel of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

The alphabet of the Canaanites, who are said to have lived in lands that are part of present-day Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, Syria and Jordan, eventually became an important basis for many modern languages. This fact allowed Garfinkel to describe the comb, which was discovered at the Tel Lachish excavation site in south-central Israel five years ago, as being “the most important object” he never found.

“It’s a milestone in the history of the human ability to write,” he said, quoted by the media.

To date, ten Canaanite inscriptions have been found in the region of Lachish, once the second most important city in the biblical kingdom of Judah. None of them, however, formed a complete sentence. Inscriptions discovered on other sites also contained only isolated words.

As ivory was an expensive material in ancient times, the comb, according to Garfinkel, was a “very luxurious accessory.The artifact still bears traces of lice, a fact which the researchers say reflects the reality of ancient times: even people of high social status suffered from parasites.

While the teeth of the comb are broken off, their bases show that over thousands of years the design of lice combs has not undergone significant changes.

According to a study published in the Jerusalem Journal of Archaeology, a book of 17 letters

inscription on an ivory comb, dating from around 1700 BC. AD, reads as follows: “May this defense eradicate lice from hair and beard.”


“The letters form seven words which, for the first time, provide us with a complete and reliable sentence in a Canaanite dialect, written in the Canaanite script”, said the researchers, led by archaeologist Yosef Garfinkel of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

The alphabet of the Canaanites, who are said to have lived in lands that are part of present-day Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, Syria and Jordan, eventually became an important basis for many modern languages. This fact allowed Garfinkel to describe the comb, which was discovered at the Tel Lachish excavation site in south-central Israel five years ago, as being “the most important object” he never found.

“It’s a milestone in the history of the human ability to write,” he said, quoted by the media.

To date, ten Canaanite inscriptions have been found in the region of Lachish, once the second most important city in the biblical kingdom of Judah. None of them, however, formed a complete sentence. Inscriptions discovered on other sites also contained only isolated words.

As ivory was an expensive material in ancient times, the comb, according to Garfinkel, was a “very luxurious accessory.” The artifact still bears traces of lice, a fact which the researchers say reflects the reality of ancient times: even people of high social status suffered from parasites.

While the teeth of the comb are broken off, their bases show that over thousands of years the design of lice combs has not undergone significant changes.


RT

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