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Full Version: When was the Niederbieber Helmet put out of use?
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I have a question, when did the Roman Army stop using the Niederbieber Helmet? 
Was it during the reign of Diocletian or perhaps, Constantine?
(12-14-2018, 03:44 PM)impcaeaug Wrote: [ -> ]when did the Roman Army stop using the Niederbieber Helmet?

Fragments of the skull reinforcement of Niederbieber-type helmets were found at Dura Europos in Syria, dating to the destruction of c.AD257. The very latest known example of the type might be the helmet, possibly unfinished, from the fort at Rainau Buch, which was abandoned c.AD260.

We have little to no evidence for Roman helmets between 260 and c.300, when the earliest composite 'ridge' types start appearing. There was a rumour of an example from Poitiers dating to around 270, but that turned out to be a gladiatorial helmet, I believe!
(12-15-2018, 12:22 PM)Nathan Ross Wrote: [ -> ]
(12-14-2018, 03:44 PM)impcaeaug Wrote: [ -> ]when did the Roman Army stop using the Niederbieber Helmet?

Fragments of the skull reinforcement of Niederbieber-type helmets were found at Dura Europos in Syria, dating to the destruction of c.AD257. The very lastest known example of the type might be the helmet, possibly unfinished, from the fort at Rainau Buch, which was abandoned c.AD260.

We have little to no evidence for Roman helmets between 260 and c.300, when the earliest composite 'ridge' types start appearing. There was a rumour of an example from Poitiers dating to around 270, but that turned out to be a gladiatorial helmet, I believe!

Thanks for the reply, I wish we had more evidence for Roman Helmets in the late 3rd and early 4th centuries.
(12-16-2018, 04:04 PM)impcaeaug Wrote: [ -> ]I wish we had more evidence for Roman Helmets in the late 3rd and early 4th centuries.

Yes! There's really nothing much with a firm date between the Dura finds of c.AD257 (Niederbieber type) and the Deurne cavalry helmet of c.AD319, which is the fully developed ridge type.

There may well have been other kinds of helmet in use during this period, for which we currently lack evidence - and some people have suggested the use of mail or scale coifs as well (I'm not so sure about that...)

I've argued a few times (most recently in this post) that a distinctive type of helmet that appears frequently in later Roman art could well have been based on a real type, so far unknown to archaeology. But, of course, until we have some solid evidence for it, this is just guesswork!
There is a find from Bulgaria that Miks dates to the late 4th century AD, found alongside the nasal from a ridge helmet.
(12-28-2018, 04:44 PM)Flavivs Aetivs Wrote: [ -> ]There is a find from Bulgaria

Of what? A Niederbieber, or something else?
Yeah a Niederbieber/Buch/Rainau style helmet. Whole like 1/3 of it including a cheekpiece and part of the bowl. I don't have a photo though but it came up in the Facebook Late Roman Group recently.
(12-29-2018, 03:12 AM)Flavivs Aetivs Wrote: [ -> ]Yeah a Niederbieber/Buch/Rainau style helmet. Whole like 1/3 of it including a cheekpiece and part of the bowl.

Sorry, Evan, I meant to follow up on this but got distracted by New Year!

Do you have a reference? A helmet like that from a secure 4th-century context would be revolutionary, but I've never seen or heard any mention of it - and Miks himself said nothing about it during his talk in London a few years ago (when he mentioned the Novae and Fernpass helmets and others).

Is this a very recent find? Where was it published?
(12-29-2018, 03:12 AM)Flavivs Aetivs Wrote: [ -> ]it came up in the Facebook Late Roman Group recently.

I found it, I think - it came up in a discussion you were having on Facebook with Raffaele D'Amato about the helmets in his new Osprey Roman Heavy Cavalry book. Mr D'Amato said that the helmet was discovered at Novae.

[attachment=14892]

The pictures and caption in the book (p.31) show what appears to be two fragmentary bits, then a reconstructed helmet - attributed to 'European Private Collection', with photos by the author. It isn't clear who performed the excavation, or reconstructed the assemblage (which looks to me very unusual!).

The note that 'Dr Christian Miks advises caution in this case' implies that Miks either suspects the reconstruction is faulty, or that the excavated pieces do not belong together at all. Without a proper excavation report it would be impossible to say. It seems, anyway, that only the nasal guard appears in his published work.

So it remains to be seen how things might develop with this piece, but I don't think we need rewrite the history of late Roman helmet development just yet!
(12-15-2018, 12:22 PM)Nathan Ross Wrote: [ -> ]There was a rumour of an example from Poitiers dating to around 270, but that turned out to be a gladiatorial helmet, I believe!

I tracked down the report on this helmet (actually two helmets), which was mentioned on the board here several years ago but is now available (in German) on Academia:

Jouquant-Thomas / Larcelet / Miks: Römische Helme aus einem mittelkaiserzeitlichen Siedlungskontext in Poitiers/Lemonum

The pictures are interesting even if you can't read the text. You can see how the excavators might originally have guessed that they'd uncovered a previously-unknown hybrid of a Niederbieber and a ridge helmet! But the gladiatorial version now seems to be accepted. It also goes to show how difficult it is to reconstruct fragmentary remains like this, and then interpret them correctly - and there seems to have been a lot more left of these helmets than the Novae one.

[attachment=14893]