11 June, 20:59

Coppergate Helmet: a surviving Anglo-Saxon artifact

Coppergate Helmet: a surviving Anglo-Saxon artifact
The Coppergate Helmet, found in York, is a unique artifact dating back to the 8th century. This Anglo-Saxon helmet is one of only six surviving helmets from this era known today.

In its design, the Coppergate helmet goes back to the late Roman helmets with a longitudinal crest. The basis is a rounded spherical frame, which was created by connecting iron parts using rivets. Two elongated cheek pads are hinged to the helmet, providing additional protection to the sides of the face.
A special feature of the Coppergate helmet is its chainmail collar, which is attached to the lower edge of the helmet. It protected the neck of the helmet wearer and was made using forge welding to join the links, which differs from the more common riveting technique.
The helmet is richly decorated with brass decorative elements. Chemical analysis showed that the brass parts contain about 85% copper, which underlines the high quality of the materials used. Brass decorations give the helmet not only protective, but also symbolic properties, indicating the status of its owner.

The design of the frame of the Coppergate Helmet is reminiscent of the helmets of the Northumbrian horsemen depicted on the stones at Aberlemno.
The helmet was found in 1982 in York during excavations at the bottom of a wooden well. Unfortunately, the worst damage was caused to the find during excavations. The excavator struck the helmet and struck the top of the rear side of the deflector, shearing the rivets and tearing the rear filler plate into pieces. The front plate was dislodged and the side band was broken and folded.

The restoration was entrusted to specialists from the British Museum.
The helmet is now part of the permanent collection of the Yorkshire Museum. However, it is included in many public exhibitions.


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