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The Penn Museum began acquiring prehistoric European archaeological collections in 1892. These collections were housed in the General Ethnology/American and Prehistoric Archaeology Curatorial Section until 1913 when the European Curatorial Section was formally created as a separate entity. The European Collection holds an estimated 20,000 objects most of which are exclusively archaeological. The major prehistoric periods represented are Paleolithic (c. 3,900 objects); Neolithic (c. 7,950 objects) and Bronze Age (c. 1,049 objects). Additionally, some historic Iron Age (236 objects), Italic (15 objects), Roman (78 objects), and Medieval (76 objects) have also been identified. In addition, few modern lithics as well as approximately 50 modern tools and raw materials from the 19th century Brandon Flint Quarries are included in the sections holdings. The section can be subdivided into three distinct collections.

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