Roger Wood/CORBIS

This clay tablet from Ayia Triadha is inscribed with the Linear B script, which Michael Ventris deciphered in 1953. After around 1450 B.C., the Mycenaeans arrived on Crete from the Greek mainland and adapted the local script (Linear A) to form a new script that could be used to record their own language. This was Linear B, a syllabic script of 59 signs and written from left to right within ruled lines. It remained in use until around 1200 B.C.