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The earliest sentence written in the alphabet was discovered at Tel Lachish

Hebrew University researchers have uncovered a rare archaeological find from the Middle Canaanite period. This is the first complete sentence found and written in the alphabet.

A Canaanite comb with the oldest Canaanite inscription was discovered at Tel Lachish. Photo courtesy of the Hebrew University
A Canaanite comb with the oldest Canaanite inscription was discovered at Tel Lachish. Photo courtesy of the Hebrew University

The alphabet, invented by the Canaanites around 1800 BC, formed the basis for most modern languages ​​in the world. In the past, Canaanite inscriptions of only a few words were discovered in the Land of Israel, but to this day no inscriptions of considerable significance have been found. BA new study led by Prof. Yossi Garfinkel from the Hebrew University, and in collaboration with other researchers from the Hebrew University, Ben Gurion University and the Southern Adventist University in the USA, revealed a small ivory comb that was used to get rid of lice with an engraving of a complete sentence in Canaanite - the earliest ever found - expressing a spell against lice on head hair and beard. The findings were recently published in The Jerusalem Journal of Archaeology.

The ivory comb, which was uncovered at the archaeological excavation site at Tel Lakish, is about 3.5 centimeters in size in total. "From the examination of the find, it was possible to see that his teeth were broken, but the remains indicate that one side consisted of thick teeth and the other side had thinner teeth," shared Dr. Madeleine Momtsoglu, from the Institute of Archeology at the Hebrew University, a research partner, and added: "Now, only about five years since its initial discovery, when the comb was cleaned and transferred to conservation, we were able to discover the inscription imprinted on it because the letters were carved very shallowly and could not be distinguished." In addition, the researchers testify that traces of lice were even preserved on the comb.

In the study of the raw material, done by Prof. Rivka Rabinowitz from the Hebrew University and Prof. Yuval Goren from Ben Gurion University, it was clarified that the comb was made from elephant ivory. This aspect is important because the word chet appears in the inscription.

The inscription was deciphered by Dr. Daniel Weinshtov from Ben Gurion University. He recognized on the comb 17 ancient Canaanite letters in their form, from the initial period immediately after the invention of the alphabet script. Which words make up the following sentence in 3700-year-old Canaanite: Yish chet XNUMX for withered (lice) hair and zakat (beard). The meaning of the inscription is a spell intended to 'remove' lice from the hair and beard - "May this ivory remove the lice from the hair and beard". According to Prof. Garfinkel, "In the ancient past, ivory was a very expensive material, imported from Egypt, and the comb was an extremely prestigious object. The comb and the inscription indicate that even people of high social status suffered from lice."

In the Canaanite period important state cities were established in Lachish, and in the period of the kings of Judah Lachish was the second most important city in the kingdom. The Tel Lakish site is a national park and is maintained by the Nature and Parks Authority. In Canaanite Lachish, 10 Canaanite inscriptions have been found to date, more than any other site in Israel. This was the place where they used and preserved the ancient alphabet, which later became the official script of the Iron Age kingdoms, and where they wrote the Bible. The script of the alphabet was transferred to Greek, Latin and most languages ​​throughout the world, and is the tremendous contribution of the Canaanite culture to the history of the human race.  

for the scientific article

More of the topic in Hayadan:

11 תגובות

  1. The German philosopher Max Weber already said: "The mind is an iron cage that prevents man from meeting his other powers."
    Therefore, the foundation of the question is a mental error in understanding reality.

  2. Gil, look at the top of the picture, for some reason they took it cropped like that
    But you see that towards the top there are much thicker teeth.

  3. I loved the ancient times and the language was generally in Hebrew subtitles and they managed to translate it into eloquent Hebrew, but today the new generation have mouths that are repulsive of diarrhea, even the adults have the same way of speaking, you just have to open your mouths and vomit

  4. Well done for the discovery and deciphering. Things are clear and convincing, excellent and important work.
    I don't understand the skepticism of the commenters here!? Although the date of the find is not known with good probability, it is most likely from the time when there were still no Israelis and/or Jews.

  5. For my part, all the religious will continue to babble that this is neither a prayer nor a talisman, but the truth is that the Canaanites were more religious than the Niber tribes of Israel like them, simply because they continued to hold on to their idolatrous faith, which we also copied and believed in then.

  6. For my part, all the religious people will continue to babble that this is not a prayer, but the truth is that the Canaanites were more religious than the Niber tribes of Israel like them, simply because they continued to hold on to their idolatrous belief, which we also copied.

  7. I didn't understand what the talkbackist in front of me was talking about, but the article is great and the findings are spectacular and exciting.

  8. The teeth are not arranged on the thick side and on the thin side. There is no order. You can see that there are randomly thick teeth. The researchers don't in a second make up a crazy story about the comb and with such confidence write a "prayer" in fact everything is imagined and they have no idea what they are holding in their hand, it may not be a comb and it is a talisman, but they are the "wise ones" and all the young students who come to the museum will receive a clear and smooth message full of confidence. But those who tell them about a religious finding how much difficulty they will have and how much they will try to deny the finding. Because what they are looking for is all money, respect and interests.

  9. I was not able to open the article that deals with faith, so I will respond to the title, the way to be freed from faith? Too bad you brought it up, unnecessary. Those who believe will not stop believing because of a scientific article, understand that there are many believers who are interested in science because we do not see a contradiction between it and our faith, so don't get into it in a belligerent manner, if that is your intention

  10. Nice and thanks for posting.
    The interpretation of the sentence and its attribution to a witchcraft sentence is a mistake.
    Maximum request and prayer Yash = from the language of exhaustion,
    sting is the lice etc.

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