The aim of this and a subsequent paper is to make a synthesis of the evidence about hives of the Ancient World from available sources of all types. Conjecture is also necessary, but we have tried to keep this separate from statements about what is known. The evidence has been collected during the past ten years: work has included excavations of hives in Greece (AJG), and studies of hives similar to those of the Ancient World which have been found still in use, especially in Egypt, Ethiopia, Greece, Italy and Kashmir (EC). In addition. specimens of relic hives from many countries, which more or less complete the range of hives known from ancient times, have been obtained for the IBRA Collection of Historical and Contemporary Beekeeping Material.