The language and alphabet of the Canaanites can be dated back 3,700 years. It was once the language of Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan. It was used to create Egyptian documents, the Amarna letters that were written in Akkadian, and in the Hebrew Bible.
So, a recent discovery of a fragment of elephant tusk, bearing the faded inscription of 17 Canaanite letters and 7 words, that could be carbon dated back to 1700 BC, sparked immense interest among historians and biblical scholars alike.
The bone fragment can be seen below – a window into an ancient civilization, a glimpse into the minds and lives of that archaic wisdom.
Scholars pored over the symbols and analyzed the meanings, looked for hidden insights into the mysteries of those revered times.
In this remarkable discovery, researchers finally managed to translate the first sentences of this ancient language, a language where almost no complete sentences now exist.
“This is the first sentence ever found in the Canaanite language in Israel,” said Professor Yosef Garfinkel, from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. “This is a landmark in the history of the human ability to write,” he added.
And what did it reveal of the lives of those ancient peoples?
Beard lice. The Canaanites had beard lice. Well, the men anyway—who am I to say if, or where the women had lice?
The inscription is on a beard comb and the words spell out “”May this tusk root out the lice of the beard!”
It just goes to show that not all that gets passed down in the written word from those older times is necessarily all mighty revelation. Neither is the seemingly mundane without value.
Lachish, were the comb was discovered was a major Canaanite city state, and the second most important city in Judah, the biblical kingdom. To date, 10 Canaanite inscriptions have been found in Lachish, more than at any other site in Israel – but until now never in a full sentence. The word structure give scholars more insight into the now dead language of that ancient tribe than they ever had before. And of course the knowledge that head lice were a real bitchy itchy of a problem, even for those affluent enough to own inscribed pieces of elephant tusk.
You can read some of my, soon to be rendered historical words, by following the link below. I guarantee all other blog posts and books to be almost 85% lice free.