This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts covered in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book considers the landscapes of Britain and Ireland and how these would have influenced the nature of the Neolithic throughout these islands. It deals with the late Mesolithic of Britain and Ireland, specifically the thousand years prior to the start of the Neolithic around 4000 bc. The book examines the transition from the Mesolithic to the Neolithic, not just in Britain and Ireland, but within a wider north-west European context. It also deals with the early Neolithic, divided up between settlement, subsistence and material culture and mortuary practice and monumentality. The book also summarises both life and death in the middle Neolithic. It also covers the very end of the Neolithic period with the arrival of Beakers and material associated with Beakers, and also summarises new practices and forms of monument introduced up to around 2000 bc.