Classic survey work, a standard, and easy to read
The original edition was published in 1951 (translated from german), but has been updated from time to time. there are sections on a half dozen or so different civilizations. each section has chapters about how those civilizations were discovered, what is known about them, and how their language was translated (or is being translated, in the case of the maya). the last section pertains to what remains -- known civilizations about which nothing much is known apart from their sometimes extensive ruins. i read this book as a teenager, and recommend this title.