The Museum of Prehistory and Early History (Museum für Vor- und Frühgeschichte) is one of the largest international collections of archaeological and prehistoric finds from the Old World. Its treasures are displayed in the Neues Museum on the Museumsinsel Berlin. The collections trace the development of prehistoric and protohistoric cultures from the Paleolithic period up to and into the High Middle Ages. Collection highlights include the famous skull of the Neanderthal from Le Moustier, Heinrich Schliemann’s collection of Trojan antiquities, and the ‘Berlin Gold Hat’. Recent finds from excavations in Berlin also include objects representing modern and contemporary history. Levels 1 and 2 of the Neues Museum contain the Nordic ‘Vaterländischer Saal’ with its historical murals, the Cyprus collections, the archaeology of the Roman provinces and of ‘free’ Germania, as well as the gallery covering the Migration Period up to the High Middle Ages. Level 3 takes visitors even further back in time to prehistory and ancient history in the newly designed permanent exhibition ‘Stone Age, Bronze Age, Iron Age’.
A newly devised tour will take visitors along a ‘processional way’ leading to the famous Bronze-Age Golden Hat, now more brilliantly illuminated than ever. Other special highlights are the new showcase illustrations; elaborate montages on the back walls of the cases provide dramatic settings for the exhibits. Also well worth seeing is the animated watercolour installation, ‘The Time Machine’, which shows how the foothills of the Alps changed over time under the influence of man, from the Stone Age through to the Bronze Age. In the Stone-Age room a new film uses timelines and propagation maps to explain the transition from non-permanent to permanent settlements and the development of arable farming and animal husbandry.