Linear B was used from approximately 1375-1100 BC for writing Mycenaean Greek, the earliest known form of the Greek language.

The script was deciphered in 1953 by Michael Ventris and John Chadwick, following decades of research by other archaeologists, notably Sir Arthur Evans. Evans had established that Linear B was related to two other local scripts, Linear A, which has not yet been deciphered, and the later Cypriot syllabary.

Linear B consisted of approximately 200 signs, of which 87 are thought to represent phonetic syllables, and the remainder are thought to be logograms, with semantic value. The logograms generally represented items for trade, for example animals, grains or fabrics, and quanitities.

Extant examples of the script suggest that it was used primarily for recording transactions. To this end, five signs also existed for recording a decimal number system. The five signs represented the numbers 1, 10, 100, 1,000 and 10,000, and could be combined to create composite numbers. For example, the number 57 was represented by writing the 10 symbol five times and the 1 symbol seven times.