The past is inextricably embeded in the present whether we are aware of it or not. The present was shaped by the thoughts and deeds of those who went before, and our daily life largely plays out on a stage set by our ancestors. The seven contributors to this volume have taken their cue from ancient artefacts of the cultures of the Mediterranean and Near East that are kept in the National Museum of Denmark. The authors explain how these items were gathered in the first place at their remote places of origin, and why the collectors deemed the objects so important that they were willing to go through considerable trouble and expense to bring them to Denmark. Also, the demonstrate how the interpretation and perceived significance, thereby sketching important stages in the formative history of the National Museum.