Iron Age Soldier's Helmet

A rare and remarkably complete warrior’s or soldier’s helmet dating from the mid first century BC along with brooch, small spike and some cremated human remains were discovered at Bridge near Canterbury in September 2012.

Canterbury Museums and Galleries

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  • Intro
    Museum's Description
    Teacher notes
    • This helmet is only one of five of its kind found in the UK. Experts think that it could have originally belonged to a Roman soldier fighting in Caesar's army, or even a British or Gallic warrior.

      Although this helmet dates from Julius Caesar's invasions in 54-55 BC, Britain didn't become part of the Roman Empire until AD43 during the reign of the Emperor Claudius.

      Canterbury Roman Museum have told us the helmet was made for a soldier but was later used to store someone's ashes after a cremation - this is the only example its kind discovered in Britain so far.

      Cremated bones were usually buried in pots and the bones inside this helmet are almost certainly those of a woman, not a soldier!

      Why was the helmet used as a burial urn? Probably because it was a prized and exotic family item. Perhaps it belonged to the woman’s husband or was worn by an ancestor in battle. We will never know for sure, but the possibilities are intriguing.

      Things to think about...

      Why do you think so few of these helmets have been found?
      Why do you think people were buried with things that meant a lot to them?
      Does it look like modern helmets?

      You can discover more about this fascinating object at Canterbury Roman Museum's website.
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