Roman helmet sees Harborough Museum visitors triple

Hallaton helmet after restoration (pic British Museum) The helmet had to be rebuilt from hundreds of corroded pieces stuck in a block of earth

Visitor numbers at a Leicestershire museum have tripled since a restored Roman helmet went on display.

About 700 people went to see the helmet at the Harborough Museum on Saturday. It was discovered nine miles away at Hallaton in 2001.

The Roman cavalry helmet was found in hundreds of fragments and restored by a team at the British Museum.

Helen Sharp, from the county council, said the artefact had generated interest from all over the world.

Pig bones

Ms Sharp, South East Leicestershire treasure projects officer, said: "People are going up to it and being wowed by it. They can't believe that it's here and how amazing it is.

"We have had interest from all over the world, particularly The Netherlands, as it's possible that the helmet was made there 2,000 years ago."

The helmet was found with hundreds of coins and a large quantity of pig bones.

Such was its fragile state that the entire block of soil was lifted and sent to the British Museum so it could be excavated under laboratory conditions.

The helmet was found to be made of iron, then covered in silver sheet and decorated in places with gold leaf.

Lavish decoration includes the bust of a woman, a laurel wreath and a mounted figure, possibly an emperor.

Experts said its date, close to the Roman invasion of 43 AD, meant it could be evidence of Celtic tribes serving with the Roman army.

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