Africa has the longest record - some 2.5 million years - of human occupation of any continent. For nearly all of this time, its inhabitants have made tools from stone and have acquired their food from its rich wild plant and animal resources. Archaeological research in Africa is crucial for understanding the origins of humans and the diversity of hunter-gatherer ways of life. This book is a synthesis of the record left by Africa's earliest hominin inhabitants and hunter-gatherers, combining the insights of archaeology with those of other disciplines, such as genetics and palaeo-environmental science. African evidence is critical to important debates, such as the origins of stone tool making, the emergence of recognisably modern forms of cognition and behaviour, and the expansion of successive hominins from Africa to other parts of the world.