Time, Culture and Identity is a book which attempts to write about prehistory while at the same time meditating on what that writing involves. It is composed of two sections, one of which addresses a number of philosophical issues, while the other presents a series of case studies. This structure might easily give the impression that I first formulated a theoretical position and then proceeded to impose it onto particular sets of evidence. In practice, the book was written in a much less linear fashion, tacking back and forth between conceptual problems which were set up by the evidence and onslaughts upon the material which were suggested by the developing fabric of ideas. In a sense it represents a very personal (and perhaps rather indulgent) piece of work, since it is the outcome of my own process of working through a series of problems which appeared to me to be unresolved when I had finished my first book, Rethinking the Neolithic (Thomas 1991). Writing is thinking, and my hope is that others will find this record of my own learning process instructive.