Cumbria

Treasure hunter finds rare antique in Cumbria

  • 13 September 2010
  • From the section Cumbria

A metal detector enthusiast in Cumbria has discovered a rare Roman bronze helmet complete with face-mask.

It is believed to be one of only three of its kind to be found in Britain.

The helmet would have been worn, possibly with colourful streamers attached, as a mark of excellence by Roman soldiers at sport parades.

Described as a "hugely important discovery", it is now expected to fetch £300,000 at Christie's Antiquities auction in London on 7 October.

The Crosby Garrett Helmet has been named after the hamlet in Cumbria where it was found in a field in May.

Considerable interest

The treasure hunter who found it has asked to remain anonymous.

Christie's described the find as an "extraordinary example of Roman metalwork at its zenith" and "the discovery of a lifetime" for a metal detectorist.

It is believed that Romans wore the helmets as a mark of rank or excellence in horsemanship.

During sporting events, cavalrymen were divided into two teams and took turns to attack and defend.

Similar helmets were found in 1796 and 1905.

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