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Revisiting the Yarm Helmet

It is the 1950s in Yorkshire, England. During the construction of new sewage pipes, workers find a helmet. The discovery is unique, then and now. At the moment, it is still only 1 of 2 complete Viking Age helmets we know. And an Anglo-Saxon one, at that.

Yet, doubts remain if this is really an Anglo-Saxon helmet. And on closer inspection, these doubts are justified. A new study in Medieval Archaeology reveals all. First, Vikings were indeed active in Yarm, the location of the helmet. Second, the crested helmet shows all the signs of a Spangenhelmet. It has bands, plates, and a nasal and eye cover. This type of helmet is well-known from Viking Age Scandinavia. And third, researchers confirm the iron composition is early medieval, too. The helmet’s strong connection to Scandinavia is clear, even if they made it in England. Though, we will probably never know who wore this helmet. A Viking? A local Anglo-Viking or Anglo-Saxon? Who know?

The Yarm helmet is on display at Preston Park Museum and Grounds. Their website also has an informative article about the helmet. So, if you have a holiday left, book your time slot!

The original article: Chris Caple, ‘The Yarm Helmet,’ in: Medieval Archaeology Vol. 64.1 (2020), pp. 31-64. DOI: 10.1080/00766097.2020.1755126. A good summary is available on BBC News.

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