This illustrated work highlights one of the most important and creative periods in the history of art: a time marked by the appearance of the city states of the Sumerians, the citadel of Troy, the splendid royal tombs at Ur, and the monumental cities at Mohenjodaro and Harappa. The volume examines the cultural achievements of these first urban societies, placing them in a historical context. Topics covered include the emergence of the first city states, the birth of written language, and trade and cultural interconnections between the Ancient Near East and outlying areas. More than 500 works of art, including sculpture, jewellery, vessels, weapons, cylinder seals and tablets executed in a wide variety of materials such as stone, metal, clay, ivory and semiprecious stones, are included. The accompanying texts are written by leading scholars in the field. This is the catalogue for an exhibition to be held at The Metropolitan Museum of Art from 8 May to 17 August 2003.