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Harborough Museum

The Cheekpieces

The Cheekpieces

By 2011 the conservators at the British Museum had removed all the helmet remains from the soil, found at the Hallaton site. They revealed a helmet bowl (the part that sits on the head) and seven cheek pieces. A Roman helmet only needs two cheekpieces (a left and a right), so why were there five extra cheekpieces here? We do not know if the tribe received them in this state or dismantled them for burial at the shrine. Six of the cheekpieces have a roughly similar design and one definitely belonged to the helmet bowl.

Currently two cheekpieces (numbers 1 and 6) are on display in Harborough Museum in the Treasure Gallery. The other five cheekpieces have been carefully and painstakingly conserved at the British Museum.

A cheekpiece in soil

Cheekpiece 1 (Emperor)

The best preserved “Emperor” cheekpiece was the first to be found as the soil block was excavated in the labratory. It shows a triumphant emperor riding a horse and trampling an enemy beneath his horses hooves. What the local Iron Age people who buried the helmet thought of this image of Roman military power remains a mystery. This cheekpiece is displayed alongside the Hallaton Helmet.

A photograph of cheekpiece 6, which was attached to the Hallaton helmet at some point

Cheekpiece 6

This cheekpiece also depicts an emperor but it slightly different to Cheekpiece 1. Cheekpiece 6 had been attached to the Hallaton Helmet at some point before they were buried. This cheekpiece is displayed alongside the Hallaton Helmet.

A montage of cheekpiece 4 showing an X-ray image, and the cheekpiece after conservation

Cheekpiece 4

One design of the seven stands out as different and has baffled Roman experts by featuring a mysterious bearded man with banded headgear. We can now clearly see him following further conservation whereas previously he could only be seen on X-Rays.

A photograph of cheekpiece 6 held up to the Hallaton helmet

Seven cheekpieces

Currently two cheekpieces (numbers one and six) are on display in Harborough Museum in the Treasure Gallery. The other five cheekpieces have been carefully and painstakingly conserved at the British Museum.
We are hoping to display the remaining five cheekpieces with interpretation as soon as we can, and this image shows one of the ways we could display the Hallaton Helmet with the additional cheekpieces.

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Address: The Symington Building, Adam and Eve Street, Market Harborough, LE16 7LT

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