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Oldest known written sentence from 3,700 years ago gives very important advice

EXPERTS have uncovered the oldest known written sentence on an ancient comb dating back 3,700 years ago – and it has some hair-raising advice.

The surprise inscription tells people to use the comb on their hair and beards to get rid of dreaded lice.


Comb was made out of ivory and probably imported for a wealthy personCredit: AFP

It looks like the contagious critters were causing problems way back as much as they do today.

Israeli archeologists even found microscopic evidence of head lice on the old object.

“May this tusk root out the lice of the hair and the beard,” the sentence reads using the Canaanite alphabet.

The Canaanite alphabet was invented around 1800 B.C.

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It belonged to a group of people who lived in the land of Canaan, which is is thought to be in the region of modern day Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, Syria and Jordan.

Israeli archeologists who found the old object say it shines new light on some of humanity’s earliest use of the ancient alphabet, as well as the influence it had on those that followed, like Hebrew, Arabic, Greek, Latin and Cyrillic.

The nit comb was first excavated in 2016 at Tel Lachish, an archaeological site in southern Israel.

But it wasn’t until 2022 that expert Dr Madeleine Mumcuoglu noticed the tiny words scratched on it.

“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.”

It’s thought the comb was an an imported luxury object as it was made out of ivory.

There weren’t any elephants in Canaan during that time period, so the comb probably came from nearby Egypt – and suggests even the richest of that era suffered from lice.

 Their findings were published in Jerusalem Journal of Archaeology.

Rare inscription sheds new light on the use of Canaanite language some 3,700 years ago


Rare inscription sheds new light on the use of Canaanite language some 3,700 years agoCredit: AFP

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