Sutton Hoo helmetADDPMP763
The Sutton Hoo helmet was buried around 625 and is widely associated with King Rædwald of East Anglia; indeed, its elaborate decoration may have given it a secondary function akin to a crown. The helmet was both a functional piece of armour and a decorative, prestigious piece of extravagant metalwork.
The helmet weighs an estimated 2.5kg (5.5lb) and was made of iron and covered with decorated sheets of tinned bronze. Fluted strips of moulding divided the exterior into panels, each of which was stamped with one of five designs. Two designs depict figural scenes, another two zoophormic interlaced patterns; a fifth pattern, known only from seven small fragments and incapable of restoration, is only known to occur once on an otherwise symmetrical helmet and may have been used to replace a damaged panel. The “visage” contains eyebrows, a nose and a moustache, creating the image of a man.
The Sutton Hoo helmet was excavated as hundreds of rusted fragments in 1939. It was first displayed following an initial reconstruction in 1945–46, and then in its present form, after the second reconstruction in 1970–71, on permanent display at the British Museum in London.