Africa occupies a very special position in the origin and development of humankind. It is on this continent, as exciting new discoveries of fossil material have revealed, that our pre-human ancestors evolved and first acquired the key characteristics that give us our humanity. The evidence of this immense surge of human creativity is incontrovertible: the tools uncovered, the art painted and engraved on rocks, the representations of symbolic thought. This book celebrates humanity's origins in Africa and the rich archaeological heritage of the continent. It has been written by some of the world's foremost authorities on Africa's past under the editorship of Geoffrey Blundell, the Origin Centre's Curator.