This chapter presents an overview of key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book challenges existing conceptions of plant and animal usage and significance within archaeology in order to include their role in material culture. It introduces a concept termed 'the holistic approach to material culture' and a problem termed 'the missing majority'. The book describes the ways in which people, plants and animals relate to each other and interweave. It also shows the scope of the research presented here and outlines the theoretical approaches behind an intensely practical understanding of craft technologies and material culture. Archaeological studies of materiality are thus intricately bound up with trying to understand the ways in which the sensory worldviews of materials and material culture could have been constructed in the past. The book sets out an agenda for investigating the perishable material culture of prehistory and emphasizing the role of plants and animals as the raw materials for crafts.