The economic relationship between Mesopotamia and the Gulf is a long one which spans millennia, rather than just a few centuries, and which took many forms. Indeed, it can be suggested that the changing nature of this relationship reflects the economic and social changes taking place in southern Iraq and of the related changes in Dilmun. There was an increasing demand by Mesopotamia for both raw materials and exotica from the sixth millennium, when we have the earliest evidence for a relationship, until the annexation of Dilmun by the Kassites in the mid-second millennium. This increasing demand seems to reflect the growing complexity in social organisation in the region. The emergence of an elite group within society in southern Sumer, first seen in the late Uruk phase, and then notably in the mid-third millennium when the group expanded, encouraged an increased demand for status goods and materials (Van De Mieroop 2002). Such goods are used initially to enhance the power and prestige of the group itself, both by display and by gift-giving, because gift-giving binds both men and gods, through offerings, ever more closely into the group. In Mesopotamia such exotic materials also played a role in the birth of what Baines and Yoffee have called “high culture” in these newly emergent complex societies. Baines and Yoffee define this high culture as “the production and consumption of aesthetic items under the control, and for the benefit of, the inner elite of a civilization” (Baines and Yoffee 1998: 235). High culture becomes a vital part of the identity of any civilization. Maintaining a supply of luxuries thus becomes a political necessity, rather than an indulgence, as it helps the essential identity of the group to survive.