1000-piece puzzle may unlock secrets to the Roman conquest of Britain.
Historians and archaeologists are trying to solve an ancient mystery that is already shedding remarkable new light on the Roman conquest of Britain.
After years of painstaking conservation work, experts at the British Museum have succeeded in reconstructing the finest Roman battle helmet ever found in the UK.
Originally discovered by a metal detectorist, as literally hundreds of corroded fragments buried in a field in the East Midlands, the helmet has gradually been revealing its secrets to British Museum conservators who have been re-assembling it like a 3D jigsaw.
In a laboratory excavation of the block of earth containing the helmet, they discovered that the front of the iron and gilt silver artefact bore a sculpture of a Roman goddess – probably Victory – and that the cheek pieces sported images of a Roman emperor and of the great classical demi-god, Hercules.
But now they are faced with solving an even more challenging mystery – who the helmet originally belonged to and the exact circumstances surrounding its burial.
Archaeologists believe that the helmet was put in the ground by native Iron Age British tribesmen as a votive offering to the gods in the months or years immediately following the Roman invasion of Britain in 43AD.