Where these objects were found
11 King Den's sandal labelBrowse all British Museum objects on the A History of the World site
12 Standard of Ur
13 Indus seal
14 Jade Axe
15 Early writing tablet
The First Cities and States (4000 - 2000 BC)
The world’s first cities and states emerged in the river valleys of North Africa and Asia about 6000 – 5000 years ago. For the first time people came together to live in settlements larger than villages. In these communities there is evidence of kings, rulers and great differences in power and wealth. These changes took place in what is today Iraq, Egypt, Pakistan and India. But there are important differences between the early cities and states in these three regions. The world’s earliest writing also developed during this period. The surviving records of early writing are almost all administrative lists.