Although this is now old news, I thought you might be interested to know that I attended a lecture presented by Dot Boughton (Finds Liason Officer for Cumbria) on the now-famous Crosby Garrett Helmet at Kendal Museum on Friday October 1st.
As you've all no doubt read in the news, the exceptional copper-alloy helmet was discovered by a metal detector in Crosby Garrett, Cumbria, and it is thought that the helmet would have been worn as part of a parade during the late 1st Century or early 2nd Century. Dot suggested that streamers may have originally been attached to the back of the helmet in this context. This area was strategically located en route to the Northern frontier of Roman Britain. One may also recall the Newstead and Ribchester helmets that were excavated previously in Scotland and Lancashire respectively.
Dot gave a very informative and entertaining lecture, which (as you'd expect) focussed on Cumbria's wish to retain the helmet for permanent display in a Cumbrian museum, namely Tullie House Museum, where it would significantly boost the local economy as a tourist attraction for visitors to the county. She stressed the importance of the helmet for the local community as a missing piece of Cumbrian history, and was very successful in her pitch to raise the awareness of the locals in the audience, who had many questions for Dot regarding the future of the helmet. The audience were very generous with their donations to the "Roman Helmet Appeal", and at that point the situation seemed to be very positive.
Unfortunately however, the helmet was sold at Christie's Auction House on October 7th, 2010, for £2.3million to an anonymous telephone bidder. This is a devastating blow to the local community, and as a result the future of the helmet is speculative as it is not yet known whether the buyer is resident in the UK or overseas.
|Crosby Garrett's location|
The good news is that Tullie House Museum hope to place an export ban on the helmet in a last-ditch attempt to raise the funds needed to keep it in Cumbria, so here's hoping that a second attempt at acquisition can be made possible. One can only hope that, should there be a positive outcome to this whole situation, the helmet will also be considered for exhibition, temporary or otherwise, in Kendal Museum. Because Crosby Garrett actually lies within the boundaries of South Cumbria, this would be a logical decision for the relevant groups to make.