Tom Blau/Camera Press

In this photograph from 1953, the English architect Michael Ventris maps out a table of signs that would aid him in deciphering Linear B—one of the great intellectual feats of the 20th century. Drawing on the work of the scholars Emmett L. Bennett, Jr., and Alice Kober, Ventris (1922–1956) was able to prove that Linear B was used to record the Greek language.