Originating around 1450 BC, these artifacts are examples of one of the oldest forms of Greek writing, categorized as 'Linear B'. This term refers to the linear and predominantly syllabic nature of the script used.

These artifacts are mostly fragments of clay tablets, which vary in size. Some are just a few centimeters wide, while others are as large as a small book. The tablets were inscribed when the clay was still malleable, then hardened to ensure durability. Most display brown and red hues, indicative of the earth-derived clay.

Uniquely, these inscriptions serve as administrative documents, providing insights into the daily operations of Mycenaean society. They primarily record lists of commodities, landowner names, tax records, and religious offerings, thus they are practical records of economic and religious activities, not literary works.

In terms of form, the script on these tablets is mostly written left-to-right, featuring approximately 90 distinct syllabic signs, and uses ideograms to denote physical objects like sheep and bronze. Although the decoding of these texts commenced in the early 20th century, some signs remain unrecognized to date.

These inscriptions have greatly contributed to the understanding of Mycenaean civilization and language structure, as well as the broader field of Aegean prehistory. Notably, the tablets originate from the late Bronze Age, shortly before the fall of Mycenaean civilization, offering a valuable snapshot of a society on the eve of significant transformation.

Archaeological Museum of Mycenae