Objects in this collection date from the Palaeolithic period (around 250,000 BC) to the European Iron Age (around 800BC to AD 400), with particular strengths in Neolithic material from the Swiss Lakes and Denmark, Spinnes in Belgium and the Eastern European site of Vinca. It was acquired largely from collections formed by individuals who subsequently donated them to Birmingham. The material from Vinca came from an excavation funded by Birmingham businessman Sir Charles Hyde.