Akkadian is a Semitic language that was written from left to right in syllabic cuneiform. Generally written with a reed stylus on clay tablets, Akkadian was also inscribed on stone monuments and on writing boards made of wood overlayed with a thin layer of wax. Native to Mesopotamia, Akkadian became an international language of diplomacy, trade, and culture. Hence documents in this language have been recovered from archaeological sites throughout the Middle East including Egypt, Syria, Israel, Turkey, and Iran as well as Iraq. The oldest documents found in Akkadian were written during the third millennium B.C.; the most modern documents belong to the New Testament period.