Backgrounders on the Bible through Biblical Archaeology

1826-1827 Michael Hasel – The Ivory Comb Alphabetic Inscription

The Lachish lice comb with inscription, dated to 1700 BC.

The Lachish lice comb with inscription, dated to 1700 BC.

Sometimes it takes years to assess an archaeological discovery, and that’s what happened with a small ivory comb that was excavated in 2016, and then was recently discovered to have writing on it. That writing makes it one of the most significant inscriptions ever discovered in Israel!

On these programs we are joined by Michael Hasel — Professor of Near Eastern Studies and Archaeology at Southern Adventist University, Director of the Institute of Archaeology at Southern Adventist University. He is the Co-Director of The Fourth Expedition to Lachish and it was his team that actually found this ivory comb during the 2016 excavation season.

The style of writing dates this comb to 1700 BC and makes it “a landmark in the history of the human ability to write,” according to Hasel’s colleague Yosef Garfinkel, co-director of the excavation. It is the first full sentence of alphabetic writing in recorded history.

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