Elite Warrior Found Buried With 2,000-Year-Old Greek Battle Helmet In Tomb
Archaeologists working in Croatia have uncovered a rare bronze Greek-Illyrian war helmet in the tomb of an elite warrior.
The researchers came across the discovery during the exploration of the tomb, which was cut into rock on the side of a mountain in Zakotarac, on the Pelješac peninsula, in southern Dalmatia.
The warrior is believed to have been buried more than 2,000 years ago, though the helmet originated in the Peloponnese approximately three centuries earlier during the 8th and 7th centuries BC. Parts of the warriors skull were also found.
The open-faced helmet was first used by ancient Greek Etruscans and Scythians, and became known as the Illyrian helmet when it was adopted by Illyrians. It was used in Greece during the time of the Greco-Persian Wars and went on to become popular in Italy, where it was constructed from ivory.
Though iconic, this helmet style became obsolete in most areas of Greece in the early 5th century BC and its common use in Illyria ended by the 4th century BC, according to the Greek Reporter.
Archaeologists at Zagreb University, in collaboration with Dubrovnik Museums, also noted that part of the warrior’s skull was visible from the openings of the helmet, though his bones were found in a ‘rather poor condition’.
Dr. Hrvoje Potrebica, from the Department of Archaeology of Zagreb University, said that the fourth century BC Greek-Illyrian helmet ‘is exceptionally rare’ and is one of only about forty that have ever been found in Europe.
Alongside the helmet, the researchers uncovered a number of ancient weapons as well as another set of remains of a woman buried with a bronze bracelet around her wrist. Among the other items were fifteen bronze and silver fibulae, ten needles or pins, several spiral bronze ornaments and pincers as well as several hundred glass paste and amber beads.
Commenting on the find, Dr Domagoj Perkić, a curator with Dubrovnik Museums, said:
To date, more than thirty different vessels have been defined, mainly of Greek provenance, probably from the main Attic and Italic workshops.
It has to be emphasized that these were the most expensive kinds of pots of the time, which the local population put alongside the deceased as grave goods for their life beyond the grave.
Whether these vessels were bought or plundered during acts of piracy cannot be known, but those who gave them were very certainly aware of their value.
Archaeologists discovered the tomb while restoring damaged burial mounds in the area. The warrior’s mound is more than nine feet deep and six feet wide.
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