Saturday, September 9, 2017

Replica of Anglo-Saxon Helmet excavated in 1848

More views of our newly completed reimagining and recreation of the princely 7th century Mercian / Anglo-Saxon helmet from Benty Grange, Derbyshire, excavated in 1848 and now brought back to life. #HelmOfMercia
These photos show the structure of the helm, which is formed by the moulding and riveting of ox-horn plates over the internal iron framework. The joins of these segments are then hidden by the addition of horn strips, running directly above the iron framework, held in place by rivets capped with double-axe head dished silver caps (in this case sterling silver).
This structure was identified early on by the man who excavated the barrow, evidenced by the length of the rivets, and preserved "herringbone texture" of the horn in the iron corrosion products.
Additional lines of expanded corrosion (which occurs where the iron of the bands expands between two horn plates) on the front of the iron remains, and additional rivets on the lower edge of the headband suggest that horn did indeed extend down below the headband, likely forming a cap-shape more reminiscent of this helmet's most immediate cousins: the boar crested helmet from Wollaston, Northamptonshire, and the helmet from Coppergate, York. Following these designs, it follows that the Benty Grange helmet may have indeed had cheekpieces and neckguard fashioned entirely from organic materials, perhaps making use of the numerous small buckles found in association with the helmet remains. The cheekguards here are each fashioned entirely from a single piece of horn, edged with leather, and attached with leather hinges (like those on the Sutton Hoo helmet). The neckguard is an entirely organic- leather and horn- emulation of the neckguard from the Sutton Hoo helm, and corresponds to the designs on the silver pressblech foils shown.
Almost all exposed horn edges have been edged with thin leather stitched in place with linen thread, to protect them from delamination.
This helm is the culmination of 5 years work and collaboration by members of the Thegns team and close colleagues. Reinterpretation and design by Æd, iron work by members Æd and Alex Thompson, horn work principally by colleague Tony Lewis and Æd, jewelled elements by members Æd and Andrew Thompson, and leatherwork and neckpiece by member Andrew Thompson.

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