In the first showcase there are artifacts from the Paleolithic period (Old Stone Age, dating approximately 3,000,000-9,000 years B.C.) are exhibited in the first showcase. Those artifacts were found at the site near Knjaževac called Baranica. These are examples of three flint blades. After approximately 120,000 years B.C. during the Middle Paleolithic period, some improvements were made in the manufacturing of flint tools. Tools now have finer blades. The exhibited tools were used in everyday life, for hunting, meat processing and production of other tools. Those artifacts are the oldest findings on the territory of our municipality.
Further on, there is a model of Neolithic settlement created by Vasil Todorov. This village belonged to Starčevo culture (VI-V millennium B.C.). It was located on the archaeological site called Valuge, near the village of Jelašnica, on the right bank of the Jelašnica river. Dugout houses were found on this site, with layers work surfaces made of river pebbles. The Neolithic period (New Stone Age) is characterized by the appearance of permanent settlements and, therefore, sedentary lifestyle, as opposed to the previous periods and nomadic way of life. During this period, cattle breading, agriculture and production of ceramic utensils developed. The Neolithic period brings changes in diet; ceramic vessels are used for cooking and storage of food grains.
The second showcase presents items from archaeological sites Valuge and Dubrava I: blades, stone axes, ceramic amulets, painted pottery, ceramics with impresso ornaments, etc.
Impresso ornaments are a characteristic of the Neolithic Age (6500-4500 B.C.) and they were named after the decoration of ceramic vessels obtained by impressing a finger or a nail.
Barbotin ornament is obtained by drawing the fingers or pieces of wood over a previously applied layer of clay, forming plastic ribs of different length and regularity, which are grouped into vertical and sometimes in horizontal, oblique, stepped or angular systems.
The third and fourth showcases present items from the Eneolithic period (Copper Age, 4500-2500 years B.C.) from the sites of Koželj, Škodrino polje and Ravna. These are examples of stone axes, blades, a spindle whorl, a bone piercer, two ceramic statuettes, cult items, ceramic vessels.
Late Neolith is a period of early copper metallurgy (V-III millennium B.C.). This period is characterized by the Neolithic culture with a strong Neolithic tradition and unique findings of jewelry and tools made of copper. The exploitation of copper ore in the Timok basin was recorded at the site Rudna glava near Majdanpek. Copper Age settlements have been registered in the Knjaževac area, in the villages Banjski Orešac, Koželj, Debelica, Rgošte and Jelašnica. Sites Boševo-Metalogradnja and Dubrava I, are registered in Knjaževac.
Archaeological research discovered the existence of multilayer settlements from numerous periods: Late Neolithic, Late Iron Age, Antique and the Middle Ages. The remains of residential buildings foundations constructed using river pebbles were found. The above-ground parts were built using the ‘bondruk’ technique, with theuse of interwoven wattle. This settlement was destroyed in a great fire around 4,000 B.C.
The fifth showcase represents objects from the Bronze Age: bronze needle, ceramic vessels, stone axes, a stone hitter.
This period is the period in which the tools and weapons were made mainly in bronze. The time period covers the second millennium B.C. The population in the Copper Age was mainly engaged in cattle growing and agriculture. Also, new professions were established; among them were crafts and trade. The accumulation of goods marks the beginning of social stratification and of frequent conflicts. Sites from the Bronze Age have been registered in the villages of Radičevac, Koželj and Ravna. On the outskirts of Knjaževac a multilayer site Kadijski cross was examined.
In the sixth showcase are the items dating from the Iron Age, i.e. the last prehistoric period. There are ceramic pots, two-handle beakers, bowls and a fine example of a bronze pendant are exhibited.
The Iron Age represents the period in which iron starts being widely used. It covers the period from 800 B.C. to the end of the first millennium B.C. Iron Age settlements are usually located in the well established high ground-forts. The necropolis consists of ancestral tumuli, where weapons, jewelry and ceramics are placed in graves. There are registered sites from the Iron Age in the villages of Koželj, Debelica Kalna, Rgošte. Settlement findings were also discovered on the sites Boševo, Kadijski krst and around the Church of St. George.
In the seventh showcase there are objects from a Celtic grave.
The tomb was registered on the site Perilo near the village of Debelica. A Celtic warrior military equipment was discovered: a long sword, sword scabbard fragments, a javelin, and a fibula. These findings were brought to the Museum in 1975. The grave was found by accident, during tillage. It is assumed that those were buried remains of a cremated deceased person, a member of the Little Scordisci tribe.
Also, ceramic vessels from the Early Iron Age site Timacum Minus are exposed in addition to the items from the tomb.