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Scholars Have Decoded the World’s Oldest Sentence Written With an Alphabet. It’s a Highly Specific Warning… About Lice

The sentence was inscribed on an ancient ivory comb found at the Tel Lachish archaeological site in 2016.

If you expected humankind’s earliest scribes, when they first began writing with the alphabet, to record some kind of generational wisdom or an important message meant to be passed down through the ages, you would be wrong.

The oldest decipherable full sentence in an alphabet ever found, dated to 1,700 B.C.E., is inscribed on a tiny ivory comb unearthed in 2016 at the Tel Lachish archeological site in central Israel. The faint letters read: “May this tusk root out the lice of the hair and the beard.”

“People kind of laugh when you tell them what the inscription actually says,” one of the archaeologists on the project, Michael Hasel, of the Southern Adventist University in Tennessee, told the New York Times

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