Pioneer Helmet

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Pioneer Helmet
Pioneer Helmet.jpg
The Pioneer Helmet from Wollaston, Northamptonshire
Material Iron
Created 7th century
Discovered 1997 Wollaston, Northamptonshire
Present location British Museum (formerly Royal Armouries Museum)

The Pioneer Helmet (also known as Wollaston Helmet or Northamptonshire Helmet) is a 7th-century Anglo-Saxon boar-crested helm found by archaeologists from Northamptonshire Archaeology at a quarry site operated by Pioneer Aggregates. This helmet is very similar in its basic design to the Coppergate Helmet, although it is much larger, and was likely to have had two cheek plates (of which only one remained) and a nasal (which was bent inwards at the time of deposition to render the piece unwearable). A simple iron boar crest adorns the top of this helmet associating it with the Benty Grange helmet and the Guilden Morden boar from the same period, and descriptions in the poem Beowulf. The helmet accompanied the burial of a young male, possibly laid on a bed with a pattern welded sword, small knife, hanging bowl, three iron buckles and a copper alloy clothes hook.

The fragments of this helmet were found during excavations at Wollaston, Northamptonshire on a site operated by Pioneer Aggregates. The helm bears that company's name in recognition of its financial support towards restoration and conservation work.[1]

After restoration this helmet was originally on display at the Royal Armouries (Leeds) alongside a replica, and the British Museum; it is currently (2010) back at the Royal Armouries.

See also[edit]



  • Meadows, Ian (1996–97). "The Pioneer Helmet". Northamptonshire Archaeology. Northamptonshire Archaeological Society. 27: 191–193. 
  • Meadows, Ian (September 1997). "Wollaston: The 'Pioneer' Burial". Current Archaeology. Current Publishing. 13 (154): 391–395. ISSN 0011-3212. 
  • Meadows, Ian (Autumn–Winter 1997). "The Pioneer Helmet: A Dark-Age Princely Burial from Northamptonshire". Medieval Life. Medieval Life Publications (8): 2–4. ISSN 1357-6291. 
  • Meadows, Ian (March 2004). "An Anglian Warrior Burial from Wollaston, Northamptonshire". Northamptonshire Archaeology Reports (2010 digital ed.). Northamptonshire County Council. 10 (110). 
  • Read, Anthony (2006). "The conservation of the Wollaston Anglian helmet". In Smith, Robert Douglas. Make all sure: The conservation and restoration of arms and armour. Leeds: Basiliscoe Press. pp. 38–43. ISBN 0955162203. 
  • Saraceni, Jessica E. (November–December 1997). "Saxon Helmet Restored". Archaeology. Archaeological Institute of America. 50 (6). ISSN 0003-8113. Retrieved 20 February 2017. 
  • Webster, Leslie & Meadows, Ian (July–August 1997). "Discovery of Anglo-Saxon Helmet helmet with Boar Crest". Minerva. 8 (4): 3–5. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Meadows, Ian (November 1996). "Wollaston: The Nene Valley, a British Moselle?". Current Archaeology. Current Publishing. 13 (150): 212–215. ISSN 0011-3212.