Enlarge / Archaeologists excavated this engraved ivory comb at an ancient site in Israel. (credit: Dafna Gazit, Israel Antiquities Authority)
Several years ago, archaeologists unearthed a small ivory comb at Tel Lachsich in Israel, once a major Canaanite city-state in the second millennium BCE. But it wasn’t until last December that someone realized the comb had an inscription using early pictograph symbols of the first alphabet. Once deciphered, the inscription turned out to be a spell for preventing an infestation of head lice, according to a new paper published in the Jerusalem Journal of Archaeology.
“This is the first sentence ever found in the Canaanite language in Israel,” said co-author Yosef Garfinkel, an archaeologist…