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The Horniman's collections include a substantial amount of archaeological material, including items from all over the world. Frederick Horniman began these collections himself, and they were added to over the decades through donations and purchases from a number of sources.

British prehistoric material forms a large proportion of collection, the bulk of it flint tools, some from well-known sites such as Swanscombe and Grimes Graves. There are also prehistoric objects from all over Europe and some parts of Africa. Ancient Peruvian pottery and Caribbean stone tools are also represented. The Honriman has a large number of Ancient Egyptian artefacts as well as a collection of Ancient Greek and Cypriot pottery. Other material includes flint tools and weapons from North America, glass spearheads from Australia and a small collection of Romano-British objects.