This massive volume is a ""cooperative inquiry into the human past"" -- under the editorial guidance of Stuart Piggott of the University of Edinburgh whose thirteen associates include outstanding authorities, archaeologists and curators from all parts of the world. The theme of the book is to tell ""the story of those peoples who laid the foundations upon which were built all the civilizations of antiquity, and archaeology is not only the medium of discovery but the means through which prehistory has been reconstructed. Its evidence has been drawn from the Stone Age on through many centuries and cultures - from Egypt and the Levant and the Aegean, to the Far East, the Barbarians of the Steppes and Central Europe, on down to the civilization of the New World. Each essay, by an individual contributor, (on unfortunate rough, brown paper) is followed by an inset of pictures (with descriptive text) and there are 940 illustrations in all; 172 in color, and there are 110 original reconstructions among them as well as 48 maps and chronological charts. It is indeed a big production- and will be heavily merchandised by the publishers to reach the mass market. There may be competition from Life's prospective The Epic of Man, also coming this fall.