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The authors of this work are either Africans or live in Africa, and all carry out fieldwork there. This not only allows a wide overview of African development from around 8000 BC to the present day, but also offers individual reviews and in-depth studies. Rather than appearing as a barren continenent, requiring the input of colonizers in order to make any kind of progress, Africa emerges as the proud possessor of a vast and highly complex inter-weaving of peoples and cultures, all practising a huge diversity of economic and social strategies in so many different environmental situations. In some areas, hunting and gathering was a successful adaptation, in some, pastoralism, in others, small agricultural communities, and in still others, urbanization. The archaeology of Africa has revealed enough of Africa's unwritten past to confound preconceptions about this continent.