Linear B is an ancient European Bronze Age script, dating back 3,500 years. When a British architect finally cracked it in the 1950s, he was hailed as a genius – but he may never have succeeded had it not been for a woman on the other side of the Atlantic.
This is the woman who spent two decades of her life trying to crack Linear B – a script dating 3,500 years old, from the Bronze Age, an unknown script in an unknown language. This guy named Ventris – Michael Ventris – is usually credited fully with deciphering it, but Alice Kober probably had a large part to do with it.
She was the one who figured out that Linear B was an inflected language – like Spanish, or Latin, or German – but tragically, desperately sadly, she fell ill and died suddenly soon after, at the age of 43.
In a lecture after he had cracked Linear B, and before his death, Ventris did however give substantial credit to Kober for her contribution – but this acknowledgement went largely unnoticed.
But Linear B was deciphered, together with Kober and Ventris – to be revealed as a form of ancient Greek. The thing is, it’s Linear ‘B’ – because Linear ‘A’ is another, older Cretan writing system, with not enough for anyone to have deciphered it – yet.