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Reconstructing the Hallaton Helmet Reconstructing the Hallaton Reconstructing the Hallaton length of ditch. This ‘structured deposition’ of high-value objects, possibly as religious or ceremonial offerings, suggests a native British shrine was active at Hallaton in the mid 1st century AD.

The helmet pieces lay in a pit sunk in the southern stretch of ditch. Digging it disturbed an earlier pit stuffed with animal bones, mostly from pigs. Vicki Score, Site Director for ULAS, believes that this may have been deliberate, and that memory of the earlier animal bone offering was a determining factor in where the helmet was buried. Approximately 1,100 Iron Age and Roman coins were buried with, or immediately alongside, the helmet, forming a single deposit. These allowed Ian Leins, Curator of Iron Age and Roman Coins at the British Museum, to date its burial to the immediate post-conquest period, c.AD 43-50.

| Issue 264

Investigation and conservation

Once lifted, the fragile helmet remains were entrusted to the British Museum’s Department of Conservation and Scientific Research. Since 2002, conservators Marilyn Hockey, Fleur Shearman, and Duygu Çamurcuoglu have meticulously excavated and recorded them. This work was initially carried out as part of the Treasure valuation process, but was later funded by a Heritage Lottery Fund grant obtained by Leicestershire County Council after they acquired the finds for display at Harborough Museum, Market Harborough.

The conservation work revealed the remains of a helmet bowl – the part that protects the top of the head – with an attached browguard and neckguard, as well as a beautifully preserved cheekpiece (Cheekpiece 1). Five further | current archaeology


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