An extremely rare helmet from the Iron Age was uncovered by amateur treasure hunters using a metal detector. The helmet, which resembles one worn by German troops during World War II, was later used as a way to hold human remains after a cremation.
The helmet was revealed by the British Museum on Thursday, who stated that the rare helmet was found near Canterbury, Kent, in November, reports The Daily Mail.
The owner of the helmet was likely a British mercenary and may have fought against the Romans in Gaul — now known as France — or alongside them, before the object was brought to Britain. A brooch discovered with the helmet is believed to have been used to fasten a bag of human bones.
Julia Farley, who works as the British Museum’s Iron Age objects curator, stated:
“This is a very rare find. No other cremation has ever been found in Kent accompanied by a helmet and only a handful of Iron Age helmets are known from Britain. There fore we think this example was probably made on the continent and it is fascinating to speculate how it came to be in a grave in Kent.”
The Huffington Post notes that the Iron Age helmet and brooch were discovered along with bone fragments. The University of Kent notes that the items have been registered as treasure. Andrew Richardson, the Finds Manager for the Canterbury Archaeological Trust, has stated that the find is “very rare” and that the person who discovered the helmet and brooch is experienced. Richardson added:
“Further study, of the helmet, the brooch, the cremated remains and perhaps the area around the immediate find spot, is needed to try to refine the dating and character of this unusual find.”
While the finding of an Iron Age helmet is rare, this was not the first time an object from the period was discovered in Britain this year. Several Iron Age artifacts were discovered at Viking sites at Bornais in South Uist (an island off of Scotland). Those artifacts included green marble from Greece, bronze pins from Ireland, and ivory from Greenland.