The helmet was discovered by 71-year-old Ken Wallace, a retired teacher and amateur archaeologist. He and other members of the Hallaton Fieldwork Group had found fragments of Roman pottery on a hill near Hallaton in 2000. He visited the site with a second-hand metal detector late one afternoon and found about 200 coins, which had been buried in a series of small pits dug into the clay. Hallaton_helmet_front_rightHe also found another artifact, which he left in the ground overnight. The following day he returned to examine his discovery and found it that it was a silver ear. He reported the find to Leicestershire’s county archaeologist, who called in the University of Leicester Archaeological Services (ULAS) to excavate the site.
The dig took place in the spring of 2003. Hallaton_helmet_front_leftThe helmet is an example of a three-piece Roman ceremonial cavalry helmet, made of sheet iron covered with silver sheet and partly decorated with gold leaf.Such helmets were worn by Roman auxiliary cavalrymen in displays known as hippika gymnasia and may also have been worn in battle, despite their relative thinness and lavish decoration.Horses and riders wore lavishly decorated clothes, armour and plumes while performing feats of horsemanship and re-enacting historical and legendary battles, such as the wars of the Greeks and Trojans.