The York Helmet Back On Show At the Yorkshire Museum
31 July 2018
One of York’s greatest treasures has returned to the city midway through a national tour which has already seen it viewed by more than 50,000 people.
The York Helmet, the best surviving Anglian Helmet in Europe, has been on display at Nottingham Lakeside Arts and The Atkinson, Southport, as part of the Yorkshire Museum and British Museum exhibition Viking: Rediscover the Legend.
It is now back on show at the Yorkshire Museum for a limited time before the exhibition goes to Norwich Castle Museum in February 2019.
Lucy Creighton, curator of archaeology at the Yorkshire Museum, said:
“The York Helmet is one of the most iconic objects ever found in York and the tour of Viking: Rediscover the Legend is the first time it has been on show outside of York and London. It is fantastic that thousands of people have been able to see it and learn about its fascinating story, as well as finding out more about the rich history of the city of York.”
The helmet is now on display in the Medieval Gallery of the Yorkshire Museum until late January 2019.
Dated to approximately 750 to 775, the York Helmet was discovered when it was struck by the claw of a mechanical digger in Coppergate, York – luckily the operator stopped to check what had been hit.
The decoration of the nose-piece is a beautiful example of Anglo-Saxon craftspersonship complete with animals entwined in the intricate pattern. It is even inscribed with the name of its owner, OSHERE, above the nose guard. This part of the inscription may translate as “Warrior of the Royal House of Os”.
Its wearer was certainly a nobleman, perhaps a member of the Northumbrian royal family who were the most powerful dynasty in England at the time. The helmet is proof of the immense wealth and power in Britain’s ruling classes in the eighth century. It was undoubtedly a prized possession and a status symbol for the owner, showing off their riches and military strength.
Viking: Rediscover the Legend opened at the Yorkshire Museum on May 19 2017 until November 5 2017 and attracted nearly 70,000 during its run. It then went to Nottingham Lakeside Arts from November 2017 until March 2018, before The Atkinson from March 2018 to June 2018. More than 50,000 people saw the exhibition at both of these venues.
It will go on display in Norwich from February 9 until September 8 2019.