Born in Edinburgh, Daniel Wilson (1816-92) planned on becoming a painter and spent time working in Turner's studio. But in 1842 he became secretary of the Society of Antiquaries in Scotland and devoted the rest of his life to archaeology, anthropology and university administration. This two-volume work, first published in 1851, brought him to immediate academic attention. Carrying out pioneering work of scientific archaeology, Wilson brought the very word 'prehistoric' into use in English for the first time. And although a devout Christian, he accepted the theory of evolution, unlike many of his contemporaries. Split into four periods, the work is richly illustrated, with many of the illustrations created by the author himself. For this second edition, published in 1863, Wilson updated his work to reflect recent discoveries.