Historians of Africa face many of the same challenges as historians of other geographical areas. ‘Africa's past: historical sources’ shows how historians of Africa have been pioneers in the development of methods of research which have made research techniques more effective. The issue of evidence has been significant for African historians, as has the lack of written documentation. Much of what passed for African history before the 1950s fell within the tradition of ‘imperial history’, dominated by accounts of Africa made by European explorers, missionaries, and businessmen. Archaeology has made advances in improving our knowledge of African history. Historical research remains challenging, but the hope is that new discoveries and techniques of the future will make it less so.