It was Thursday, April 5, 1900. Although Arthur Evans' team had only been working on Kefala Hill for a few weeks, the excavation work was proceeding remarkably quickly. Day after day, more fragments of the vast Knossos Palace and numerous artifacts hidden in the ground were discovered. However, it was April 5 that brought an important discovery. They were clay tablets covered with a previously unknown script, later called by Evans Linear B script. As it turned out later, when all the finds were counted, the hill hiding the palace was a veritable "mine" of such written clay tablets. Those covered with mysterious Linear B script were discovered here as many as 4,360.
On Knossos Hill, Evans also discovered even older tablets covered in Linear A, an even older script used only in the oldest cities of Crete. The discoverer noticed the differences between the various forms of writing, hence the distinction between A and B letters. Similar clay tablets with the letter A were also found in the palace at Phaistos. Those covered with the younger variety B were also found in mainland Greece: in Thebes, Mycenae.
The Knossos Tablets date from 1425-1385 BC. From archaeological records, it is known that the last period of Linear B writing was at the end of the 13th century BC, the last phase before the palaces were destroyed. Later, the use of Linear B script was discontinued.
Evans spent years trying to read the mysterious Linear B, but failed in the end.
Interestingly, the secrets of this magazine were discovered by Michael Ventris, a linguistically talented son of a British officer and a Polish woman. 14-year-old Ventris appeared in one of Evans' lectures on Minoan civilization and linear writing. This topic interested him so much that four years later he published his research paper on the origin of linear writing. Ventris was only 18 at the time and to take his theses seriously, he had to conceal his young age. Initially, Ventris's views on the origins of linear writing were in line with Evans. They both believed that this writing was related to the Etruscan language. However, after years of work, Ventris in 1952 announced that the Linear B language was archaic Greek, some 500 years older than the Homeric language. This was surprising to the scholars of the time, who found this discovery absurd. However, the results of Ventris' research and analysis were indisputable.
Today it is known that the letter B was created on the basis of the older letter A, which was used by the Cretans. Linear B was used to write the Mycenaean language, the oldest stage of the Greek language, and was used for administrative purposes and bookkeeping. In Crete, the Mycenaean language appeared with the Mykene, who subjugated the island around 1450 BC.