Discovering the people and places of long ago. Great cities built and destroyed, wars lost and won, the birth of new religions - this book reveals the forces that shaped our distant past. You can find out about daily life, customs and beliefs, famous buildings and the great thinkers of the day. Detailed maps show the major historical sites of early human development and place them in geographical and political context. The worlds of ancient peoples, from the Sumerians in the Middle East to the Maya in Central America are brought to life with vivid illustrations and photographs. You can journey into the past and explore the first great civilizations. You can discover how they arose and why they declined. You can find out about early settlements, farming, trade, crafts, customs and culture. This book shows how people lived, how they fought and how they organized their societies. Who invented writing? Why were the Hanging Gardens of Babylon built? Did the minotaur really exist? What is a ziggurat? Find out the answers to these questions and many others in this exciting reference book for 8- to 12-year-olds.