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Full Version: The Crosby Garrett helmet
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This one was a new to me but various people I have spoken to have known about it for a while. Asking price means I probably won't be acquiring it, and I suspect no museum in Britain will, so it may well be off to foreign shores. Read it and weep, people. It has already caused a degree of angst on metal detecting sites.

For those who need to know, Crosby Garrett is a small village about four miles south-west of Brough (interestingly, when I tried to access the roman-britain.org page for this fort Google (one of my DNS name-servers) went ape and warned me of malware - eh?! I mean, it's a bit garish, true, but I think calling it malware is a little OTT.

First person to attempt to squeeze it into the Robinson typology will suffer a death-ray from the Planet Zorg... and I won't bat an eyelid ;-) )

Mike Bishop
As the metal detector sites say, as much of a treasure as Sutton Hoo if its real, which I suspect it is (though no soil damage/ ploughmarks etc etc?). Stunning. A parallel helmet in Guttman (back part only) but terminating in a swan, rather than a griffin. Would love to hear more re context....

Interesting blog comment here http://paul-barford.blogspot.com/2010/0 ... ional.html
I think comparing it to the sutton hoo burial at mound 1 is a little over ambitious
The depiction of the phrygian cap on a helmet is interesting though.
This is interesting too.
http://www.finds.org.uk/database/artefa ... /id/404767

I think the reference to 'Lancum Helmet' may be the finder's name.

Personally I think that this is as important as the Ribchester helmet if not more so due to it's uniqueness. Why haven't the BM been involved? Or maybe they have? :wink:
Portable Antiquities (good pics pre restoration http://www.finds.org.uk/database/artefa ... /id/404767

Quote:An extremely fine, near complete copper-alloy two-piece Roman cavalry sports helmet dating from the late 1st-mid-3rd century AD. The helmet consists of a face mask, a head piece with a griffin figurine crest attachment. It was found in 33 fragments, with 34 smaller fragments found in association. Many of the fragments were found to join and the restored helmet is now c. 90% complete.

From http://paul-barford.blogspot.com/2010/0 ... ional.html
Quote:This object was found "somewhere" in or near Crosby Garret, Cumbria by an unnamed metal detectorist in May 2010.

If both these are true, then the restorers must have worked awfully hard in a very short period........hmmmmm.... :wink:
According to one of the detectorists' forums -
Quote:at the moment there is an export ban placed on it by the government

it was not declared treasure as there is no silver or gold content, the story goes the PAS would love to find out exactly where it was found, as the finder is refusing to say.

Looking at the finds also made in the same area as the helmet was said to have been found - the corrosion and patina is completely different on the small finds. Makes me wonder if this was perhaps a Bulgarian find brought into the country?
Thanks Mike for showing this.

I have to admit that I started flicking through the catalogue looking for the helmet, as I could not believe that the one on the front was THE helmet! Wow, weep indeed.

I am someone who is used to seeing published finds of helmets in this country looking like shapeless lumps of corroded something. After discovery they then disappear from the public eye emerging months if not years later after conservation as a recognisable helmet and even then a reconstruction is required so we can see what it once looked like, therefore this find is outstanding!

The amount of time in this case, as pointed out, being only a matter of weeks from discovery to auction via apparent conservation and restoration, appears to my untrained mind as being rather fast. Apart from the unique nature of the find would you say the process in this case was normal Mike?

Graham.
Quote:The amount of time in this case, as pointed out, being only a matter of weeks from discovery to auction via apparent conservation and restoration, appears to my untrained mind as being rather fast. Apart from the unique nature of the find would you say the process in this case was normal Mike?

To be honest, I'm not really in a position to comment on this, since I am not a conservator. Most conservation labs I've had anything to do with have several jobs in hand at any one time (which explains why some things take so long) so I would not be overly surprised that one object could be 'expressed' through the process, especially if no long-term treatment of the metal was required and it was just an Airfix-kit-like build up.

I was more concerned when I first saw it that, like Adrian, it whispered 'Balkans' to me... :? Too many vested interests here to expect to get anywhere near the truth and, frankly, I view it as of limited archaeological worth, so whilst it may (now!) be 'shiny' (in a Firefly sort of way) it pales beside the Ribchester and Newstead helmets because of their contexts. When are we going to learn that it ain't all about 'treasure'?!

Mike Bishop
Some of the objects in tha tcatelog are amazing, the helmet, well, not so.
But would it not be posible for some of the Balkan Ala to have brought something like this with them?
I thought it was known where the helmet was found?
Mind you, I'm still trying to find more info on a ring I purchased in and Antiques shop.... :? Not quite the same, I know ,but frustrating anyway.
Quote:Peroni wrote:
Makes me wonder if this was perhaps a Bulgarian find brought into the country?

It looks very 'Balkan' to me as well. There are numerous helmets (Robinson, CS, Type C) with very similar mask characteristics (i.e. male, young, with tightly curled hair). These include Straubing (several), Rapolano, Stockstadt, Strass-Moos & Welzheim (there are others). None of these masks, however, has an associated cap top.

The Ostrov helmet is quite different (this is the one with the phrygian cap) and seems to lack a face mask. I do know of one very similar to the Ostrov helmet, which is more complete and which is in private hands. I wonder if we are not seeing here what the Type C 'should' look like - with the cap on top?

Mike Thomas
(Caratacus)
Crosby Garret is about 8 miles from Brough. This find was made on land that, not so long ago, would have been open Fell. Fell land is never ploughed. It is a genuine find. Christie's restoration team have done a marvelous job putting back together all the numerous pieces found. The back was folded when found but the face was easily discerned. How many people over the last two millennia have walked or ridden past or indeed over the site going to work, school, chapel, tended sheep or cows, never imagining what lay just beneath the surface? It's a wonderful find - I never knew there were such things. A 'once in a lifetime' find for those concerned.
Hello Tim, is it?

Thanks for the input, glad to hear this.
It is an amazing find then, for sure. While I am not a fan of that particular type of helmet,
which is why I commented on it in what probably sounded like very a very negative way, I am impressed by it's preservation and restoration. Now if was a kalkriese type facemask, of a really unique type, I'd be doing backflips in armour....
But like you say it is an amazing find, and it never ceases to amaze me the finds made every year.
There must be so much more left to find yet.
Quote:Crosby Garret is about 8 miles from Brough. This find was made on land that, not so long ago, would have been open Fell. Fell land is never ploughed. It is a genuine find. Christie's restoration team have done a marvelous job putting back together all the numerous pieces found. The back was folded when found but the face was easily discerned. How many people over the last two millennia have walked or ridden past or indeed over the site going to work, school, chapel, tended sheep or cows, never imagining what lay just beneath the surface? It's a wonderful find - I never knew there were such things. A 'once in a lifetime' find for those concerned.

Hi there and welcome to RAT (you may find putting your real name on a posting helps all concerned). Crosby Garrett village (no specific provenance information has been released so that is the best any of us can manage) is about 4.7 miles as the crow flies from the corner of Brough fort, about 8 miles if you follow Mr Google's rather tortuous driving route.

It certainly is a wonderful find if the provenance is genuine. I think what worries people here is the lack of verification of said provenance. Fine, if the county archaeologist has been told exactly where it was found, pictures taken of it being removed etc etc, then we can all rest easy... well, easier. I may be misunderstanding what you say here, but the rather alarming prospect you raise is that the find has come from a site never ploughed (in reality fell land can be ploughed in times of national emergency - parts of Scotland are covered in lazy beds and bere beds that have subsequently reverted to fell) and thus the archaeological context was destroyed. It has long been accepted that, where metal detecting is undertaken in agriculturally disturbed deposits (what you might typically call a ploughsoil) then contextless objects are being saved. This is not so on a site that has never been ploughed; however, if this was from improved land that has recently come under the plough (and this does happen increasingly on marginal land) then that would explain that and we can rest easy in our beds :-) )

Mike Bishop
You're welcome. I really don't know much about this helmet or any other come to that, I just felt I had to make it clear that it is a genuine find and to offer an explanation, at least in part, why there is no damage by plough blades. To explain further would be to give too much away as to whereabouts of site and that is not for me to do. It is important to me that the authenticity of the find is defended and of course, the integrity of the finder whose discretion is much appreciated.
Quote:British Museum secures 25 million pound donation
UK ยป
LONDON | Sun Sep 12, 2010 11:07am BST
(Reuters) - The British Museum has received a 25-million-pound donation from the former head of the J Sainsbury supermarket chain to help pay for a new extension, a museum spokeswoman said on Sunday.

The gift from John Sainsbury, 82, is one of the biggest known single donations to the arts in Britain.

It will go towards a new gallery for temporary exhibitions, a conservation centre and new storage space at what is Britain's most popular cultural attraction.

"It's incredibly generous," the spokeswoman said. "It's not a donation to benefit us (just) next year, it's for future generations to safeguard the collection for the nation."

The donation comes against a backdrop of big public spending cuts. Funding for museums and galleries is expected to be trimmed by 25 percent in a spending review to be outlined on October 20 by the finance minister, George Osborne.

The government will contribute 22.5 million pounds to the reported 125-million-pound cost of the extension. Other private donors will help pay the bill.

If anyone is reading this from the British Museum, can I suggest that a small part of of this be diverted to buy the helmet?
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