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Kent Archaeological Review extract

Gladiator's Helmet from Suffolk.
by A R Edwardson (Curator).
(Moyses Hall Museum, Bury St. Edmunds, West Suffolk.)

In April 1965 spring cultivation at Hawkedon, West Suffolk, NGR TL 793 545, disclosed a damaged Bronze Helmet. By courtesy of the owner Mr H H Cawston this was brought to the writer, and since it posed some problems it was sent to HM Armouries. The Tower of London, who identified it as a Helmet of the Thracian School of Gladiators, and of exceptional interest, since it was the only one ever to be found in Britain. The Helmet which is cast all in one piece in Bronze, excepting for applied Bronze braiding round the edges, part of which remains, was at one time tinned, and the presence of holes drilled. above the eyes indicate the presence of some form of face guard or visor, now missing.

The site presents problems since such scanty evidence of occupation in Roman time indicates a small rustic community and so far no evidence of an urban community having an arena.

Lying some twenty two miles north of Colchester and approximately on the border of the tribal area of the ICENI, it may be possible that during the insurrection of the powerful tribe led by Queen Bouddica in AD 61 the Helmet was carried away from Colchester as war loot at the time. No evidence can be produced to support this assumption.

Editor: Although not concerning Kent this report has been included as being of national interest.

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