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Roman helmet from Guisborough

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Roman helmet from Guisborough
Roman helmet from Guisborough

In August 1864, a unique Roman helmet was discovered in a field at Barnaby Grange near Guisborough in the west-central part of England. The find was originally thought to be of Anglo-Saxon or Celtic origin.

It was only when the object was handed over to the British Museum in 1878 that it was possible to find out that the artefact dates back to the 3rd century CE and it goes back to Roman times. The building has been restored and put on display. Probably the helmet also had cheek pads, which, however, are lost. On the sides of the helmet, you can see small holes with metal plates attached to them. The object is made of bronze. The comb on the front of the helmet is decorated with two snakes.

The image of Mars on the front of the helmet.
Author: Prioryman, CC BY-SA 3.0

The object is decorated with small engravings of Roman deities: Victoria, Mars and Minerva, whose execution must have been spent several days of work. Interestingly, the object was secluded and far from any other Roman traces of presence found. This suggests that a Roman soldier could have simply abandoned the helmet or sacrificed after serving as a form of sacrifice in honour of a deity. It is also not entirely clear whether the armour was used during combat or only during parades – hippika gymnasia.

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