Volume I of The Cambridge History of Africa provides the first relatively complete and authoritative survey of African prehistory from the time of the first hominids in the Plio-Pleistone up to the spread of iron technology after c.500 BC. The volume therefore sets the stage for the history of the continent contained in the subsequent volumes. The material remains of past human life recovered by excavation are described and interpreted in the light of palaeo-ecological evidence, primate studies and ethnographic observation, to provide a record of the evolving skills and adaptive behaviour of the prehistoric populations. The unique discoveries in East and South Africa of early hominid fossils, stone tools and other surviving evidence are discussed with full documentation, leading on to the coming of Modern Man and the beginning of regional patterning. The volume provides a survey of the now considerable material showing the different ways of life in the forests, savannas and arid zones during the 'Later Stone Age'.