This book is the most comprehensive treatment of the art of Syria in the third millennium BS. It is also the first book-length publication of material from the British excavations at Tell Brak (1976-1993). It is a catalogue of nearly 600 seals from Tell Brak (more than ten times as many as are available from any contemporary Syrian site), combined with a general study of the comparative material. It is both a basic work of reference and a new synthesis of the Syrian Early Bronze Age.
The Brak material is published with drawings and photographs and a full discussion of the designs, provenances and functions of the seals. About 900 seals of this date are known from other sources in Syria and northern Iraq. A comprehensive list arranged by style and date is provided. The chronology depends on a complex interaction of evidence from pottery and from seals which were imported from Babylonia. The most thorough recent discussion of this evidence is included, which enables the first detailed assessment of the development of Early Bronze Syrian art to be made. This shows how art contributed to the rise of civilization in Syria, and how Babylonian forms were selected and adapted several times in different Syrian contexts.