Sylvia Mitschke

Curt-Engelhorn-Stiftung für die Reiss-Engelhorn-Museen, Mannheim

A reconstruction of a Roman helmet

Questions of identities concerning Roman cavalry helmets

It is rare to find, as part of the Roman cavalry equipment, helmets with face masks. However, at the end of the last century, the numbers of finds of this type increased, especially in the Lower Rhine region. Of these helmets, those belonging to the collections of the Museum Het Valkhof, Nijmegen, the Römermuseum Xanten and the Landesmuseum in Bonn were investigated in 2206/2007 by a team of German and Dutch researchers.

During this series of investigations, several experiments involving replication and reconstruction were undertaken in order to gain an insight into the manufacturing techniques utilised by the Romans. These investigations focussed on the techniques applied to the manufacture of textiles.

These studies led to an understanding of the principle schema of the composition of the masks for the first time. The patterns incorporated into the masks can be divided into three different decorative concepts which are the source of ongoing studies. The analysis of these masks could also be used in discussions concerning the provenance of the helmets and the identity of their wearers.

It is these questions relating to the helmets and face masks that will be addressed throughout the duration of the Dress ID project.