The first programme in a six-part series in which Peter Jay travels the world to present an investigation of human economic history. The series was three years in the making. In this programme, covering the period 8,000 BC to 65 BC, he travels to Jordan where archaeologists are making discoveries about the era when humans started farming and trading. He then visits the first big settlements in Catal Huyuk, in central Turkey, where people traded and hoarded obsidian, a shiny black volcanic glass. Finally, in Iraq's ancient city of Ur, he learns how writing was invented for accounting purposes and heralded the birth of civilisation.