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152 10.

1515/pz-2013-0005
DOI
Marianne Mdlinger, Bronze
Praehistorische
Age bell helmets:
Zeitschrift
new
2013;
aspects
88(12):
on typology,
152179 chronology and manufacture

I. Abhandlungen
Marianne Mdlinger

Bronze Age bell helmets: new aspects on typology,


chronology and manufacture
Abstract: ber einen Zeitraum von mehr als 150 Jahren
standen sptbronzezeitliche Glockenhelme nur selten im
Mittelpunkt der Forschung, zumeist wurden sie nur im Gesamtkontext bronzezeitlicher Helme diskutiert. Dieser Artikel beschreibt im Detail und zum ersten Mal alle bekannten Glockenhelme sowie ein assoziiertes Fragment. Der
Beitrag wirft ein neues Licht auf die Entwicklung und Chronologie jener einzigartigen Helme, deren Ursprung jedoch
unsicher bleibt. Glockenhelme datieren nach HaB1, sie
stammen zumeist aus Hortfunden des Karpatenbeckens.
Positiv zu vermerken ist eine steigende Zahl publizierter
Element- und Mikro-Strukturanalysen, deren Ergebnisse
miteinander verglichen und im Detail diskutiert werden.
Von den vierzehn bekannten Helmen stammen drei aus Privatsammlungen oder sind verloren gegangen, so dass diese
nicht fr weitere Untersuchungen zur Verfgung stehen.
Die verbliebenen zehn sicheren Fundstcke werden im vorliegendem Beitrag analysiert und diskutiert. Ihre Fertigung
wird rekonstruiert, auerdem eine auf Basis neuer Analysen erkannte Herstellungstechnik eingehend vorgestellt.
Keywords: Bronzezeit; Glockenhelme; Chronologie; Osteuropa; SEM-EDXS
Abstract: Depuis plus de 150 ans de recherche sur les casques de lge du Bronze, les scientifiques nont que rarement choisi les casques en forme de cloche comme thme
principal de leurs discussion. Cet article aborde pour la
premire fois, et en profondeur, tous les casques en forme
de cloche connus, ainsi quun fragment associ, et veut jeter un nouvel clairage sur lvolution et la chronologie de
ces casques uniques du Bronze final. Ils datent du HaB1 et
se retrouvent gnralement dans des dpts du bassin des
Carpates, mais leur origine demeure inconnue. Grce aux
analyses lmentaires et microstructurales, il a t possible de publier un nombre croissant danalyses de casques
en forme de cloche, dont les rsultats seront compars et
discuts en dtail. Malheureusement, trois des 14 casques
connus actuellement appartiennent des collections prives ou ont disparu. Les dix exemplaires srs restants sont
analyss et font lobjet dune discussion. On a restitu leur

mode de fabrication en dcrivant de manire dtaille la


nouvelle technique de fabrication identifie travers les
analyses rcentes.
Keywords: ge du Bronze; casques en forme de cloche;
chronologie; Europe orientale; SEM-EDXS
Abstract: Over more than 150 years of research, Late Bronze
Age bell helmets have usually been included in discussions
about Bronze Age helmets in general, and are rarely the
main topic of discussion. This article discusses in detail and
for the first time all known bell helmets and one associated
fragment, and aims to shed new light on the development
and chronology of these unique Late Bronze Age helmets.
Their origin remains unclear and they date into HaB1, and
were mostly found in hoards in the Carpathian Basin. Moreover, the number of published analyses of bell helmets has
increased with elemental and micro-structural analyses
and the results will be compared and discussed in detail.
Unfortunately, of the 14 helmets known today, three are in
private collections or lost. The ten remaining secure finds
are analysed and discussed and their manufacture reconstructed, with detailed description of a new manufacturing
technique that emerged through the new analyses.
Keywords: Bronze Age; bell helmets; chronology; Eastern
Europe; SEM-EDXS

Marianne Mdlinger: Dipartimento di Chimica e Chimica


Industriale DCCI, Universit di Genova, Via Dodecaneso 31,
I-16146 Genoa. E-Mail: marianne.moedlinger@univie.ac.at

Introduction
Bronze Age European metal defensive armour is rare.
From the beginning of the Urnfield culture (ca. 1300 BC)
on, we know of around 120 helmets1, 90 shields (Uckel1 Mdlinger 2013d.

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Marianne Mdlinger, Bronze Age bell helmets: new aspects on typology, chronology and manufacture

mann 2012), over 60 greaves and 30 cuirasses2. The only


completely overlapping distribution area of all types of armour in Europe is the Carpathian Basin, including the
southern parts of Moravia and Slovakia. Focussing on
helmets, we can distinguish two main types according
to their principle of construction: in Western Europe, the
bi-valved, crested helmet is the leading type; in Central
and Eastern Europe, the cap of the helmet is made of one
single metal sheet only. A special type of crested helmet
(type Lueg) is distributed in the Austrian Alps, but will not
be discussed here3. The helmets in Central and Eastern Europe are usually classified due to their shape in conical
helmets, cap helmets (decorated and not decorated, with
or without (massive) socket or knob) and bell helmets.
Apart from some of the cap helmets, all helmets have a
knob or socket on the top, which usually also has a central
hole to attach a plume. Conical and cap helmets were
hammered out of a flat bronze disc to rather thin, delicate
forms, while the bell helmets are clearly larger in diameter
and high as well as far more massive, with a particularly
thicker cross section of the calotte (Fig. 13).
Bell helmets were first described 1941 by G. von Merhart
as Glockenhelme, Knaufhelme or ungarische Helme,
or as glockenfrmige Helme (type Hajdbszrmny)4.
H. Hencken called them in 1971 rounded bell helmets,
while C. Clausing named them in 2001 Helme mit glockenfrmiger Kalotte und durchlochtem Scheitelknauf.
Though both H. Hencken and C. Clausing include Italian helmets in the bell helmet category5, such as the helmets from Tarquinia, an Italian helmet now kept at the
museum in Karlsruhe, Germany6, and the helmet from
Populonia, Italy7, these helmets will not be considered
here. Since bell helmets are undecorated, high, and particularly massive, these Italian helmets are not that high
in proportion to their width, are closer to cap helmets in
their shape, have more flattened knobs on their sockets
and are decorated. H. Hencken also includes in his group
of bell helmets a fragment from Bonyhd, Hungary (catno.
15)8. The flat, c. 15 18 cm sized bronze sheet was folded
twice. On one side, rivet holes are visible as well as differing corrosion products parallel to the slightly stripped
edge, common to bronze helmets in general. Nevertheless, we have to consider that bell helmets (despite the two

2
3
4
5
6
7
8

Mdlinger 2013c.
See most recent e.g. Lippert 2011.
Mozsolics 1955, 38; von Merhart 1941, 11.
Hencken 1971 45; Clausing 2001, 199225.
Hencken 1971, fig. 2325.
Clausing 2001, 219.
Hencken 1971, 43; Fig. in Mozsolics 2000, pl. 40/14; see Catno. 14.

153

separate sockets and the only half preserved helmet from


Kork; catno. 8) are usually preserved (almost) complete
and not placed in hoards as fragments only. In addition,
they are more massive on the rim/edge than the fragment
from Bonyhd. The association of the fragment with bell
helmets therefore remains unsecure.

Description
Bell helmets are, in proportion to their width, relatively
high. Their base diameter ranges from 1923 cm, and their
height from 1827.5 cm. In addition, the weight is similar:
the helmets weigh between 10321478 g (Tab. 2), differing
severely from the much lighter conical and cap helmets,
which never weigh more than 700 g9. This weight difference is due not only to their larger size, but mainly to their
massive cap. While conical and cap helmets, as well as the
Italian helmets considered part of the bell helmets group
by H. Hencken and C. Clausing, have a maximum thickness of less than 0.5 mm10. Bell helmets are up to 3 mm
thick, and even thicker around the rim; up to 5 mm. On the
helmets from the former Guttmann collection (catno. 11)
and the one from Gorny and Mosch (catno. 12), 812 rivet
holes with a diameter from 310 mm are placed at a regular distance of about 5 cm apart. The so-called Ausschnitt
(cut out or opening) as noticed on the rim of the conical
helmets is not documented on bell helmets11.
The cap of bell helmets lacks ornamentation in every
case; only the central knob bears decoration on the shaft
in form of several horizontal lines12. The only exception is
the knob of the helmet from Endrd (catno. 7), which is
decorated with horizontal lines and chevrons with hatching (Fig. 4, above right), and the knob of the helmet from
Monte Altino (Catno. 14), which lacks any decoration. The
tubular hole usually passes through the whole knob.
C. Clausing notes that the knob on the Gorny and Mosch
helmet has a vertical hole, obviously closed with a cast-on
on the inside of the helmet13. Inside the upper end of the
knob, some organic filling seems to be visible. Likewise,
the tubular hole of the knob of the helmet from the former

9 Mdlinger 2013a; 2013b.


10 Hencken 1971, 3247; Clausing 2001, 199225.
11 Mdlinger 2013a.
12 Sehlsdorf (catno. 1), kocjan (catno. 3), Mezkvesd (catno. 6),
Kork (catno. 8), former Zschille collection (catno. 10) or with additional herringbone ornaments (Pikcolt (catno. 9), Sl}in (catno. 2),
Mantova (catno. 4), helmets from the former Guttmann and Lipperheide collection, Gorny and Mosch helmet.
13 Clausing 2005, 36.

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Marianne Mdlinger, Bronze Age bell helmets: new aspects on typology, chronology and manufacture

Fig. 1: Bell helmets (scale: 1:2): 1 Hungary (?) (after Clausing 2005, fig. 6). 2 Mezkvesd, Hungary. 3 Hajdbszrmny, Hungary.
4 Endrd (Gyomaendrd), Hungary

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155

Fig. 2: Bell helmets (scale 1:2). 1 Hungary (?), former Guttmann collection (AG 1000). 2 Sehlsdorf, Germany. 3 unknown; former Zschille
collection. 4 unknown; former Lipperheide collection (today lost). (3 and 4 after Born/Hansen 1992, fig. 9 and 11)

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156

Marianne Mdlinger, Bronze Age bell helmets: new aspects on typology, chronology and manufacture

Fig. 3: Bell helmets (scale 1:2). 1 Kork, Romania (cross section after Hencken 1971, fig. 27). 2 Pikcolt, Romania (detail: scale 1:1).
3 Mantova, Italy. 4 kocjan, Slovenia (after Hencken 1971, fig. 26, ab). 5 Slu}n, Czech Republic (after Sala 2005, pl. 424/21).
6 Bonyhd, Hungary (after Mozsolics 1985, pl. 40/14)

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157

Tab. 1: European, Bronze Age bell helmets


Catno.

findspot

find
circumstances

museum

inventory no.

analyses

Sehlsdorf, Germany

single find

Museum fr Ur- und Frhgeschichte Schwerin,


Germany

unknown

EDXRF*

Slu}n, Czech Republic

hoard

Muzeum Prostjov, Czech Republic

143668

kocjan, Slovenia

votive deposit

Naturhistorisches Museum Wien, Austria

47626

SEM-EDXS;
metallography

Mantova, Italy (?)

river (?)

Antikenmuseum Berlin, Germany (former


Lipperheide collection)

L 68

AAS ***

Hajdbszrmny,
Hungary

hoard

Magyar Nemzeti Mzeum Budapest, Hungary

33/1858/3

AAS ***

Mezkvesd, Hungary

hoard

Magyar Nemzeti Mzeum Budapest, Hungary

60.2.2

AAS ***

Endrd, Hungary

river

Erkel Ferenc Mzeum Gyula, Hungary

60113,1

SEM-EDXS

Kork, Romania

hoard

Muzeul National Brukenthal Sibiu, Romania

11992 = A 4658

SEM-EDXS;
metallography

Pikcolt, Romania

hoard

Muzeul Municipiului Carei, Romania

2290

SEM-EDXS

10

unknown

unknown

Museum Berlin, Germany (Zschille collection)

13167

AAS ***

11

uncertain; Hungary (?)

water (?)

repository unknown (former Guttmann


collection)

AG 1000

AAS **

12

uncertain; Hungary (?)

unknown

repository unknown (Gorny & Mosch)

no invno.

13

unknown

unknown

lost; Knigliche Museen Berlin, Germany


(former Lipperheide collection)

no invno.

14

Monte Altino, Italy

unknown

Museo Provinciale Sannitico, Campobasso,


Italy

15

Bonyhd (?), Hungary

hoard

Magyar Nemzeti Mzeum Budapest, Hungary

107/1889/167

* see Krause 2003 ** see Born-Hansen 2001 *** see Born-Hansen 1992

Tab. 2: Weight and measurements of the helmets (* for helmets with supplementation applied during the restoration; the actual weight of the
helmets might have been higher)
helmet

state

high cap (cm)

high knob (cm)

dm (cm)

thickness (mm)

Sehlsdorf

complete

25,2

6,8

22.2 23.2

2.5 2.7

1455

11

Mantova

complete

26,6

6,1

22.7 23.5

0.8 4.0

1478

Hajdbszrmny

complete

25,5

5,8

20.5 23.5

1338

11

Mezkvesd

complete*

23,5

6,2

22,5

23

1340

Endrd

complete

26,1

6,2

19 23.2

5 (rim)

1032

Kork

not complete

25

6,1

23 circa

1524

>4

Pikcolt

complete*

18

22

1094

11

Zschille

not complete

23,1

6,1

20.5 24.9 23 (rim); 0.51 (above)

1912

10

Guttmann AG 1000

complete

21,5

4,5

19.5 21.3

1.2 3.5

1150

11

Gorny and Mosch

complete

24

21 circa

2.5 (rim)

12

Lipperheide

complete

25 circa

>7

Slu}n

only knob

6,2

kocjan

only knob

6,4

Monte Altino

complete

27.5

23.5 21

Bonyhd

fragment cap

>3

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weight (g) rivetholes

158

Marianne Mdlinger, Bronze Age bell helmets: new aspects on typology, chronology and manufacture

Fig. 4: Helmet from Endrd, Hungary. On the left, the outer (above) and inner (below) rim
is visible and a crack, most likely as a result of manufacture, which was covered with a rivet
and an additional metal sheet. On the right, the unique decoration of the knob is visible (above),
as the hammering traces of the base of the rim (below)

Guttmann collection does not pass completely through


the knob. Sand found in the base of the socket, might support the hypothesis of water deposition. Furthermore, it
seems that some not yet properly identified organic residues remained inside the socket14.
On some helmets, traces of repairs and use-wear are
also visible. The helmet from Endrd shows several cracks
on the calotte, one of them mended during the Bronze Age
using a large, flat-headed rivet, which fastens a rectangular plate of bronze inside the helmet (Fig. 4, left). The caps
of the helmet from the former Guttmann collection and the
helmet from the former Zschille collection are covered
with pores, defects and vertical cracks. Horizontal traces
of hammering inside the helmet from Kork (Fig. 5) were
already noted in the inventory book of the museum in the
1830s and can be found on other bell helmets as well, including the helmets from Sehlsdorf (also vertical traces of
hammering), the former Zschille collection15, and those
from Mezkvesd, Pikcolt and Mantova. The Pikcolt helmet has in the middle of the cap a decorated bronze sheet
like a band-aid riveted on. On the inside of the helmet, it
is supported with a rectangular, undecorated additional
bronze sheet (Fig. 6). Most likely, it covers a hole or crack
in the cap, which was covered during the manufacturing
14 Ibid.
15 Born/Hansen 1992, 344.

process in this unusual way. The helmet from Hajdbszrmny (catno. 5), on the other hand, shows horizontal
traces of hammering only in the thicker area inside the
rim; inside the cap, almost no traces are visible. The helmets from the former Guttmann collection, the one sold at
Gorny and Mosch and the helmet from the former Lipperheide collection could not be studied in detail.
Regarding the diameter, the rivet holes and the comfort of wearing the helmets, it is clear that an organic inlay
or an organic cap was worn underneath the helmet. This is
also visible by different coloured corrosion products on
the outside of the helmets, usually reaching from the rim
to a few mm above the rivet holes. These normally darker
corrosion areas (Fig. 7) are the result of the organic inlay,
which was fixed with rivets inside the helmet. Similarly,
on the helmets from Mezkvesd, Hajdbszrmny, the
former Guttmann collection16 and the helmet from Gorny
and Mosch17, corrosion differs on the outside of the helmet from the rim up to a bit higher than the rivet holes, indicating residues of a former organic lining, which was
bent outwards and fixed with rivets. P. Schauer also mentions dark residues on the inside and outside of the rim on
the helmet from Mantova18.
16 Born/Hansen 2001, 72, pl. XVI.
17 Clausing 2005, 35, fig. 6.
18 Schauer 1988, 447.

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159

Fig. 5: Hammering traces on the inside of the helmet from Kork, Romania (above) and Pikcolt,
Romania (below)

Distribution and Deposition


The main distribution area for bell helmets is the Carpathian Basin, with five secure find spots (Hajdbszrmny,
Mezkvesd, Endrd, Kork, Pikcolt) and the nearby find of
Slu}n, following the Danube and Morava upstream. Four
finds might be considered as exports: the helmet from
Sehlsdorf in the North and the helmets from presumably
Mantova19 and kocjan to the west as well as the helmet

from Monte Altino to the south (Fig. 8). For the four remaining helmets (former Guttmann, Zschille and Lipperheide collection as well as the helmet from Gorny and
Mosch), we do not know anything about the location or
circumstances of their discovery. Nonetheless, accepting
a distribution centre in the Carpathian Basin, we might assume a production centre for bell helmets in the same
area, as suggested by H. Hencken20. The helmet from
Sehlsdorf, along with other elite bronze sheet objects such

19 Mozsolics 1972, 373f. 393f.

20 Hencken 1971, 9.

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Marianne Mdlinger, Bronze Age bell helmets: new aspects on typology, chronology and manufacture

Fig. 6: Helmet from Pikcolt, Romania. Details of the riveted on decorated bronze on the outside
of the helmet (below). On the inside, another sheet was applied. The overlapping hammering traces
indicate that it was applied during the manufacture process

as Hajdbszrmny-type vessels (i.e. from Siem/Aalborg or Granzin/Lbz) or bronze cups of the Jeniovice
type, testifies to a constant exchange between the Carpathian Basin and Northern Germany/West of the Baltic
Sea. This is visible not only as an simple trade of objects,
but as a constant elite exchange of traditions, depositional practices and values, as already discussed in detail
by H. Born and S. Hansen21. Unfortunately, many bell helmets do not have secure find spots or find circumstances.
The helmets from Sehlsdorf and Endrd are single finds;
the helmets from presumably Mantova and from the

former Guttmann collection might be water finds (as the


helmet from Endrd certainly is). However, no find spot is
known for the helmet from the former Guttmann collection. For the four helmets from Monte Altino, the one
from the former Zschille collection, the helmet from
Gorny and Mosch and the helmet from the Lipperheide
collection, we do not know anything about their find spot
or find circumstances. Massive copper carbonates in
cracks of the helmet from the former Zschille collection
might nevertheless indicate deposition in soil22. Most of
the helmets, including those from Slu}n, kocjan, Kork,

21 Born/Hansen 1992, 353f.

22 Ibid. 341.

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Marianne Mdlinger, Bronze Age bell helmets: new aspects on typology, chronology and manufacture

161

Fig. 7: Helmets from Hajdbszrmny (above left) and Mezkvesd (below left), both
Hungary, from the outside; no scale. Different corrosion products relating to the organic
inlay attached with rivets to the helmet. On the helmet from Hajdbszrmny the
drop-like traces of the removal of the corrosion during restoration (?) are still visible. In
the small picture, one of the rivet holes from the helmet from Sehlsdorf, Germany
(above right, Landesamt fr Kultur und Denkmalpflege Schwerin), is depicted

Pikcolt, Endrd, Hajdbszrmny and Mezkvesd, were


found in hoards.
The composition of the hoards in which bell helmets
have been found varies. The hoard from Slu}n consists of
one ceramic vessel, in which 22 complete, destroyed or
only fragmented bronze objects were placed: 12 sickles lay
with the decorated side upside and seven socketed axes
with the blades all pointing north or northwest. Further
finds are a knob of a bell helmet, a tube/socket, and a fragment of a sword blade. The composition of the metal finds
of the hoard is not at all typical for deposits of the Lausitzer
Urnfield culture due to the lack of jewellery. Finds like this
are more common to the southeast, in the Carpathian
Basin23. The chronological span from the votive place from

kocjan covers the entire Urnfield period. Valuable objects, particularly arms and armour, including swords,
helmets, greaves, axes, spearheads, bronze vessels, were
thrown inside the cave or abyss. Many of these mainly
male, warrior objects were deliberately damaged, being
burnt, melted, bent, broken or chopped up. In addition to
the helmet, the Hajdbszrmny hoard contains one
Hajdbszrmny-type situla; two other situlae, of which
today only the handles are present; a bronze cup of the Jeniovice-Kirkendrup type; one smaller and one larger
bronze bucket, both with cruciform handles24; at least 20
and perhaps 30 swords, including five Sprockhoff IIa type
swords, two Sprockhoff IIc type swords, four metal hilted
swords with flat pommel, two metal hilted swords with

23 Sala/md 1999, 33.

24 Type B1 according to Patay 1990, 2122.

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Marianne Mdlinger, Bronze Age bell helmets: new aspects on typology, chronology and manufacture

Fig. 8: Distribution map Bronze Age bell helmets. The find spots of the helmets from the former Guttmann, Lipperheide and Zschille
collection and the auction from Gorny and Mosch are unknown, and thus not depicted on the map

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Marianne Mdlinger, Bronze Age bell helmets: new aspects on typology, chronology and manufacture

Tab. 3: Composition of the hoard of Kork, Romania, according to different authors


Author

Axes

Helmets

Spearheads

sickles

Luca Georgescu 2008, citing Weber


(who bought the hoard)

> 30

Ackner 1834: Weber sold to Ackner collection

1st helmet

Luca Georgescu 2008, citing Weber: donation 1836


to Brukenthal Museum

4
1

Neigebaur 1851

fibula (?)

Goos 1876: finds sold to private collection in Hannover

> 30

2nd helmet

Mozsolics 1955

30

few

PetrescuDmboviwa 1978

21 and > 9
(min. 3 Hannover)

2
(1 Hannover)

Schauer 1988

21

few

oval knob, six Schalenknauf-type swords and three sword


blade fragments which are now lost25. The bronze objects
of the hoard from Mezkvesd were placed inside each
other and then inside one big ceramic vessel. One bronze
vessel of the Hajdbszrmny type contained the helmet,
in which two arm spirals with twisted ends were placed.
The ceramic vessel also contained fragments of two
bronze vessels type B126. The hoard from Bonyhd, which
contains a fragment possibly from a bell helmet, consists
of more than 200 objects, such as fragmented spearheads,
daggers, knife, sickles, chisel, arm rings, rings, pins, belt
buckles, spirals, fragments of a bronze cup, several bronze
sheet fragments (vessels?) as well as socketed and winged
axes27. The hoard from Pikcolt consists most likely only of
the helmet and a bronze cup belonging to HaA28. It might
be possible that further finds belonging to the deposit
were not noted during the construction of the road, during
which the helmet and the cup were discovered.
Several authors have discussed the hoard of Kork,
and the composition of the hoard varies from author to
author29 (see Tab. 3). G. F. Weber, the evangelic priest
from Kork who documented trade and find circumstances of the hoard, mentions more than 30 socketed
axes, two sickles, two spearheads and two helmets30. He

25 Patay 1990, 22; Moszolics 1984; Moszolics 2000, 46.


26 Patay 1969; 1990, 23.
27 Moszolics 2000, 102104.
28 Born/Hansen 1992, 348.
29 I.e. Ackner 1834, 222285; Neigebaur 1851, 275; Goos 1876, 50; Mozsolics 1955, 39; Petrescu-Dmboviwa 1978, 144f.; Luca/Georgescu
2008, 2733.
30 Luca/Georgescu 2008, 27.

Varia

fibula (?)
mace head

mace head

noted that just a small part of the deposit was sold to the
collection of J. M. Ackner (one helmet, a spearhead, a
sickle and one socketed axe)31. Weber donated four socketed axes to the Brukenthal Museum in 1836. J. Neigebaur
mentions another different assemblage of the hoard
three spearheads, one helmet and one fibula (probably
roman) arriving at the Brukenthal Museum more or less
the same time32. C. Goos notes that the second helmet as
well as more than 30 socketed axes and the fibula (obviously he was quoting the mistake of J. Neigebaur) went
to a private collection in Hannover33. Furthermore,
J. Hampel mentions a second hoard from Kork, also
found by gypsies and containing a helmet as well34. Reputedly, it was passed to a private collector in Hannover.
A. Mozsolics states that other finds of the hoard were
found inside the helmets: in the now missing helmet,
30 axes were found. In the other hoard, two spearheads,
one mace head and a few sickles were deposited inside
the helmet35. It is the first time that a mace head is noted
within the context of the hoard, which most likely is due
to plate 1 in the Ackner publication, which depicts finds
from Kork but from different periods. M. PetrescuDmboviwa depicts five axes, one spearhead, one sickle and
the helmet as well as a part of the second helmet as a part
of the hoard, mentioning briefly that more than 30 axes,
two spearheads and two sickles were found in two

31
32
33
34
35

Ackner 1834, 274, pl. I/1.


Neigebaur 1851, 275.
Goos 1876, 50; Luca/Georgescu 2008, 27.
Hampel 1886, 96.
Mozsolics 1955, 39.

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helmets36. From her depiction, 21 axes were deposited


in one helmet37. According M. Petrescu-Dmboviwa, some
of the finds at least a helmet and three axes seem
to be kept in a private collection in Hannover38. Today,
from the hoard of Kork only the first helmet, one spearhead (flat, rhombic blade type), one sickle (type Uioara 9,
HaA1B1), two socketed axes (type Wanzek 2.b.7), one
socketed axe with Y-shaped decoration on one side (type
Wanzek 2.b.6.a or Boroffka-Ridiche 2.b.6.a.30/3), one
unique socketed axe with herringbone decoration and one
rather common axe with concave mouth are preserved39.
It is unclear whether one of the helmets of unknown
provenience might be the second helmet from Kork, if the
helmet is still preserved or if it is held in some unknown
repository today. The only thing we know for certain is
that a second helmet, most likely associated with the
known helmet from Kork, was sold to a private collection
to Hannover40. H. Hencken has taken into account the
possibility that one of the lost helmets from the Lipperheide (denied by P. Schauer without any further explanation) or Zschille collection might be the second helmet
from Kork41. Alternatively, the helmet from the former
Guttmann collection or the helmet from Gorny and
Mosch might be the lost second helmet from Kork. However, there are also speculations about a second helmet
from the deposit from Hajdbszrmny, and we might
consider the possibility that one of the four helmets with
uncertain provenience might originally be from Hajdbszrmny. J. Hampel discusses one more helmet found at
Hajdbszrmny, and shows two helmets on his plates42.
Nevertheless, there is a mistake in the plate; the second
helmet is the one from Endrd, as J. Hampel himself noticed one year later43.

Chronology and typology


Due to the wide time difference, it seems unlikely that the
bell helmets are directly connected to Greek depictions of
rounder boar tusk helmets, as H. Hencken suggests44. A
European evolution seems much more likely, though we

36 Petrescu-Dmboviwa 1978, 144.


37 As copied also by Schauer 1988.
38 Petrescu-Dmboviwa 1978, 144f.
39 Luca/Georgescu 2008, 54f.
40 Goos 1876, 50.
41 Hencken 1971, 50, fig. 28; 29. Schauer 1988.
42 Hampel 1876, pl. XII.
43 Hampel 1877, opposite pl. XIII.
44 Hencken 1971, 8.

cannot find any direct ancestor of this massive, heavy helmet type. However, not only typological differences, but
also differences in the manufacturing technique support
the hypothesis of a new, European invention most likely
in the Carpathian Basin. The helmets were made out of an
as-cast, flat disc as were the older conical and cap helmets, and the decorated Italic helmets or the cap helmets
with massive knobs. Bell helmets have less intensive deformation applied compared to the construction of the
other, much thinner types of helmets.
G. von Merhart noted that bell helmets are younger
than conical helmets45, while P. Schauer noted that the
sockets of the older Urnfield bell helmets testify that they
were at least for some time contemporary with the conical
bell helmets (definition of conical bell helmets after P.
Schauer)46, and this partial contemporaneity was again
noted by H. Born and S. Hansen47. Today, however, the relationship of conical helmets and bell helmets is clear.
Chronological and typological aspects of conical helmets
were recently discussed in detail, suggesting a much earlier date for conical helmets: BzC2 (14th cent. BC) for the
helmet from Biecz, BzC2/D (14th13th cent. BC) for the helmets from the BzDHaA (c. 13001050 BC) hoards from
Brno-Qebkovice, Keresztte, Nadap, Spisk Bel and
{akov. Meanwhile, the conical helmet found in the HaB1
(c. 10th cent. BC) hoards (dated to HaB1 only due to the
vessels type Hajdbszrmny) from Lbky and Sg are
considered to be the oldest objects in the hoards48.
The bell helmets found in hoards, such as the helmets
from Slu}n, Hajdbszrmny, Mezkvesd, Kork and
Pikcolt, can be considered for the chronological evaluation of bell helmets. All hoards with bell helmets are uniformly dated to the 10th9ht cent. BC, most of them to
HaB1. M. Sala M. md date the hoard of Slu}n to the
Rohod-period based on the socketed axes, and from ceramic vessels more specifically to HaA2/B1, tending more
to the beginning of HaB1 (deposit horizon Kqenvky)49 or
HaB150. The helmet from Hajdbszrmny is generally
dated to HaB151; only J. Kossack placed it in HaA252. P. Patay
dates the helmet from Mezkvesd to HaB1, as indicated by
its similarity to the hoard from Hajdbszrmny53. The
45 Merhart 1941, 4f. note 3.
46 Schauer 1988, 191.
47 Born/Hansen 1992, 348.
48 Mdlinger 2013a.
49 Sala/md 1999, 33.
50 Sala 2005, 158.
51 Mozsolics 1955, 37f.: horizon Hajdbszrmny, B Via; MllerKarpe 1959, 114; 139; 167; 204; Gimbutas 1965, 151153; Patay 1969, 200.
52 Kossack 1954, 27f.
53 Patay 1969, 200f.

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Tab. 4: Results of all analyses on the alloy composition carried out on bell helmets so far, including the new SEM-EDXS data achieved.
findspot

analyses

Cu

EDXRF*

Sehlsdorf

cap

87,0

EDXRF*

Sehlsdorf

knob

SEM-EDXS

kocjan

SEM-EDXS

Sn

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Pb

Sb

As

11,7

0,3

0,2

88,0

10,0

0,4

knob

88,3

10,2

kocjan

cap

89,8

AAS ***

Mantova

cap

AAS ***

Mantova

knob

AAS ***

Hajdubszrmny

AAS ***

Fe

Zn

Ni

Ag

0,0

tr.

tr.

0,1

0,1

0,2

0,1

tr.

tr.

0,1

0,1

0,5

0,2

0,2

0,5

0,1

0,1

0,2

9,0

0,1

n.d.

tr.

tr.

tr.

0,1

0,1

89,7

8,4

0,4

88,5

9,8

0,4

cap

10,4

1,6

drilling sample

Hajdubszrmny

knob

16,2

1,1

drilling sample

AAS ***

Mezkvesd

cap

11,6

0,8

drilling sample

AAS ***

Mezkvesd

knob

16,7

1,0

drilling sample

SEM-EDXS

Endrd

cap

91,0

7,0

1,4

0,3

SEM-EDXS

Endrd

knob

89,7

7,5

1,9

0,3

SEM-EDXS

Kork

cap

87,3

10,3

1,6

SEM-EDXS

Kork

knob

92,9

1,7

0,3

SEM-EDXS

Pikcolt

cap

84,6

11,0

3,1

SEM-EDXS

Pikcolt

knob

91,5

6,3

1,2

10

AAS ***

Zschille

cap

87,0

1112

0,5

10

AAS ***

Zschille

knob

90,8

7,6

0,8

11

AAS **

unknown

cap

89,93

8,26

1,21

0,09

0,20

0,04

0,02

0,13

0,06

<0.025

0,08

<0.01

<0.001

11

AAS **

unknown

knob

89,93

8,09

1,35

0,07

0,20

0,04

0,02

0,11

0,55

<0.025

0,11

<0.01

<0.001

11

AAS **

unknown

rivet

90,25

7,75

1,37

0,06

0,30

0,04

0,01

0,11

0,06

<0.025

0,11

<0.01

<0.001

n.d.

Bi

Co

Au

Cd

further information
surface analyses f qualitative

spectra: 7
n.d.

0,2

spectra: 7

0,2

0,1

spectra: 6

0,5

0,1

0,1

spectra: 7

0,3

0,3

tr.

0,4

tr.

1,6

1,1

0,3

0,1

1,1

0,6

spectra: 8

0,3

0,3

0,4

0,1

0,1

0,2

spectra: 9

0,4

0,2

0,1

0,3

* see Krause 2003, attached CD; ** see Born/Hansen 2001; *** see Born/Hansen 1992, Tab. 1

0,1

tr.

spectra: 6

spectra: 7

Marianne Mdlinger, Bronze Age bell helmets: new aspects on typology, chronology and manufacture

Analyses

165

166

Marianne Mdlinger, Bronze Age bell helmets: new aspects on typology, chronology and manufacture

helmet from Kork is dated to the Transylvanian Bronze


Age IV, which is contemporary with HaB(1)54. S. A. Luka and
A. Georgescu date the hoard to HaB1 (Moigrad Tuteu
period), as does M. Rusu55. I. Nmeti dates the helmet from
Pikcolt to HaB, while M. Rusu dates it to HaB156. Most parts
of the votive place from kocjan belong to HaB, but there
are also finds from the Hallstatt Iron Age, as iron spearheads, bronze axes and fragments of a so-called Schsselhelm. In addition, fragments of crested helmets were deposited in the cave57. C. F. C. Hawkes and M. A. Smith prefer
late HaB while G. von Merhart and G. Kossack are considering the deposit typical for HaB58. Nevertheless, we have to
consider that the votive place from kocjan contains finds
from the 12th8th cent. BC, therefore can not be used as
closed find and as a marker of the bell helmet chronology.
Due to the clear and uniform chronological classification, the helmets with unknown find locations (Monte
Altino, Mantova, former Guttmann, Zschille and Lipperheide collection as well as the helmet from Gorny and
Mosch) or single helmet finds (Sehlsdorf, Endrd) were
and are dated according to the chronological well-defined
hoards containing bell helmets. A. Mozsolics dated the
helmet from Endrd to HaB59, and J.-P. Schmidt placed the
helmet from Sehlsdorf in period IV/V (c. 1100900 BC)60.

Analyses
So far, elemental analyses of six bell helmets have been
published61. In order to present an overview of all analyses
of bell helmets, the previously published analyses with
AAS are presented together with the newly acquired SEMEDXS results in Tab. 4.

SEM-EDXS
The two new samples from the Kork and kocjan helmets
were mounted in epoxy resin for metallography and
polished with up to 0.25 mm diameter paste. The samples

54 Hencken 1971, 50, after Mozsolics 1955, 48.


55 Luka/Georgescu 2008, 33; 54; Rusu 1990, 70.
56 Nmeti 1972, 120; Rusu 1990, 77.
57 Hencken 1971, 120; Kossack 1954, 45; von Merhart 1941, 30; Szombathy 1913, 151.
58 Hawkes/Smith 1957, 140; von Merhart 1952, 58.
59 Endrd 1955, 48.
60 Mozsolics 1955, 48; Schmidt 2004, 195.
61 Born/Hansen 1992, 339356; Born/Hansen 2001, 270; Krause 2003.

were not only studied with the SEM-EDXS, but also with
light optical microscope with bright field and dark field.
The alloy composition of drilling samples (finds from
kocjan, Endrd and Pikcolt) and two micro-samples
kocjan) were characterized by Energy Dispersive
(Kork, S
X-Ray Spectroscopy (using a PENTAFET EDXS detector
sensitive to light elements, Z>5) connected to a Scanning
Electron Microscope (SEM) Evo40 Zeiss. The operating
conditions were an accelerating voltage of 20 kV, P<105
barr and an acquisition time of 60 seconds with 2000
channels of 5 eV each. The cobalt calibration was applied
with ZAF 5 correction and real standards for the quantitative analyses. The compositions reported are normalized and in weight percent. They correspond to the mathematical average of 69 spectra with suitable fit index per
each sample. Element concentrations <0.3 wt % were considered as semiquantitative and taken into account only
when the identification peaks were clearly visible in the
spectrum acquired.

Discussion Results of analyses


Unlike older helmets from BzDHaA (c. 13001050 BC);
conical helmets either decorated or undecorated cap helmets), the younger bell helmets regularly contain small
amounts of Pb (lead), usually around 12 wt %, in the
case of the cap of the helmet from Pikcolt up to 3 wt % on
occasion (Tab. 4). The tin (Sn) amount ranges between
612 wt % for both cap and knob, except the knob of the
helmet from Kork with 1.7 wt % and the two knobs of the
helmets from Hajdubszrmny and Mezkvesd with
more than 16 wt % each. Here, we have to note that the
AAS results62 for the latter two knobs are significantly
higher than all other results from knobs of bell helmets. It
is also worth noting that there is no apparent colour difference between knob and cap, although a light difference
luster might be visible with a difference in Sn of 5 wt %63.
For the analyses of the helmet from Sehlsdorf64 it has
to be noted that the analyses were carried out on the corroded surface and thus are qualitative; it can only be said
that the alloy composition of cap and knob is similar, with
the cap potentially showing a slightly higher amount of Sn.
It is interesting to note that the helmets from Endrd
and kocjan as well as the helmet from the former Guttmann-collection all show a similar alloy composition for

62 Born/Hansen 1992 339356.


63 Ammanati et al. 2004.
64 Krause 2003.

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Marianne Mdlinger, Bronze Age bell helmets: new aspects on typology, chronology and manufacture

both cap and knob. Most likely, the cap was cast first. Once
the cap was finished, the remaining alloy from the cast of
the cap was melted again to be used for the cast-on of the
knob, which might be also the reason for the slightly
higher amount of lead in the knobs. For the helmet from
the former Guttmann collection, we can even assume that
the one rivet analysed was made of the same alloy as cap
and knob. Though the alloy composition is uniform for
each helmet, the results differ slightly from helmet to helmet, but are still in the range of uncertainty. The helmet
from Endrd consists of 77.5 wt % Sn and 1.41.9 wt % Pb,
and the helmet from the Guttmann collection contains
about 8.1 wt % Sn and 1.3 wt % Pb while the helmet from
kocjan around 910.2 wt % Sn and 0.10.5 wt % Pb. The
helmet from Mantova just shows slight differences in the
Sn-amount between cap (8.4 wt % Sn) and knob (9.8 wt %
Sn), but the same amount of Pb.
In contrast with the previously discussed helmets, the
helmets from Hajdubszrmny and Mezkvesd show
significantly different Sn-amounts for both cap and knob,
though the amount of Pb is similar. Both helmets bear
a knob with over 16 wt % Sn, while the caps contain
10.4 wt % and 11.6 wt % Sn respectively. Furthermore, the
composition of both cap and knob differ widely in the helmet from Kork. This helmet also shows a significant colour variation due to the difference in the alloy composition: the cap contains 10.3 wt % Sn and 1.6 wt % Pb, while
the knob 1.7 wt % Sn and only 0.3 wt % Pb. However, significantly elevated levels, between 11.6 wt % of Sb, As
and Ni, have to be taken into account. Similar high quantities of these elements are usually found in Fahlore.
Therefore, we might consider the possibility that the knob
was made out of Fahlore with (almost) no previous recycling process. The helmets from the former Zschille collection and the helmet from Pikcolt also show different
amounts of Sn and Pb for both cap and knob, as the knob
has c. 45 wt % less Sn than the cap. Both caps also show
significantly higher amounts of Pb than the knobs. In light
of this new analyses, we cannot agree with the assumption
of H. Born/S. Hansen that the different alloy composition
for the helmet from Zschille points to a different workshop65. It rather fits with the helmets from Kork and Pikcolt, in the group of bell helmets with significantly higher
quantities of tin in the cap than in the knob.

65 Born/Hansen 1992, 346.

167

Metallography
One micro-sample each could be taken from the helmet
from Kork and the helmet from kocjan: on the helmet
from Kork in the middle of the cap, on the helmet from
kocjan close to the knob. Other helmets were not
sampled, since most of them are in perfect condition, were
not accessible or suffered some recent heat treatment during restoration, as is the case with the helmet from the
former Zschille collection. The samples from the helmets
from Kork and kocjan were studied with an optical
microscope in bright field and dark field as well as the
SEM-EDXS for the elemental analyses. Due to the intercrystalline corrosion products on both samples, the matrix is clearly visible and etching was not necessary. On
the helmet from Kork, Pb is regularly distributed in the
metallic matrix in the form of fine, globular inclusions.
(Fig. 9). Polygonal grains with slipping bands and mechanical twins crossing each other are clearly visible. These
are typical of recrystallization annealing after cold deformation, followed by another slight mechanical deformation as shown by mechanical twins. The cap of the
helmet from kocjan, Slovenia, was sampled very close to
the knob in order to document the potential change in the
microstructure during the cast-on of the knob. The microstructural features (such as shape factor of inclusions) of
the cap itself indicate an amount of total biaxial deformation of 4045 %. The last step of work was slight cold
hammering, indicated by annealing twins slip lines. The
rounded, undeformed shape of the grains (frozen during
grain growth) close to the surface indicates a local thermal
treatment at high temperature, as might have happened as
a consequence of the cast-on of the knob. On the outer surface of the cap, above an interface of slight corrosion and
close to the knob, a less than 10mm layer of a+d eutectoid
is visible, destroyed in some areas due to crevice corrosion
(Fig. 10). The formation of the a+d eutectoid layer might be
connected to the interaction between cap and knob during
its cast-on66. Only the d-phase with its much higher resistance to corrosion is still present. The Sn necessary to create the thin layer of a+d eutectoid on the caps surface derives from the knob during the cast-on process, due to the
phenomenon of Sn-sweating, since intentional tinning,
i.e. with cassiterite on the bronze surface between knob
and cap, does not seem to be very likely. Furthermore, the
layer of a+d eutectoid is noted only in a small area of the
sample, where the cap was close to the knob. Tin sweat
requires shrinkage of the cooling metal away from the

66 Caumont et al. 2006.

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Fig. 9: Helmet from Kork, Romania. SEM-picture of the micro-sample from the mid of the cap.
The white dots are Pb-inclusions, the elongated, light grey areas are Cu2-xFexS-inclusions
indicating the total deformation of the cap of 80 %

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Marianne Mdlinger, Bronze Age bell helmets: new aspects on typology, chronology and manufacture

169

Fig. 10: Helmet from kocjan, Slovenia. The bronze sheet of the cap is severely corroded and only light deformed (c. 45 %). Note the inter- and
intra-crystalline corrosion following the metal structure and the remains of a+d eutectoid on the surface of the cap (on the picture above left:
at the bottom of the sample; on the two SEM images on the right on the top of the sample the white layer)

walls of the mould, which results in internal pressure, forcing the still molten, tin-rich bronze to move to the surface, more precisely into the gap between mould and rawcast. Fast cooling and the release of dissolved gas during
the solidification process increase the hydrostatic pressure and enhance the occurrence of tin sweat67. In the case
of the knob cast on the helmets cap, the molten, tin-rich
bronze touches the bronze cap and forms, during the cooling process, a+d eutectoid and results furthermore in a Snenrichment in the grains close to the surface (up to 15 %).
However, the temperature achieved by the cap was not
high enough to melt it and then weld both parts together.
From the deformation of the Cu2-xFexS-inclusions68,
we can estimate the total biaxial deformation from the as-

67 Meeks 1986.
68 Mdlinger/Piccardo 2012; Pernot 2000.

cast to the finished cap at around 80 % in the middle of the


cap for the helmet from Kork. In contrast, the top of the
cap close to the knob of the helmet from kocjan is only
4045 % deformed. This level of deformation is rather low
in comparison with the much thinner conical and (decorated) cap helmets69 and supports the hypothesis that the
bell helmets were cast as flat discs and then die forged in
an open forging die, with additional deformation using
also a so-called Treibfaust (rounded or convex stake
anvil). The higher deformation in the middle of the cap as
shown at the helmet from Kork results in a much thinner
bronze sheet than on the rim or the central top of the helmets. The level of deformation allows calculating that the
as-cast thickness for both caps should be higher than
2 mm, which is the estimation from the percentage of de-

69 Mdlinger 2013a; 2013b.

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Fig. 11: Reconstruction of the manufacturing process of the cap of a bell helmet, including the amount of deformation noted on the samples
from the helmets from kocjan and Kork. For the as-cast of the disc, three different possibilities are depicted; for the vertical cast, the space
holders for the rivet holes additionally serve for the fixation of the two halves of the mould. The round bronze disc with the cast rivet holes
then was deformed via deep-drawing or die forging over a most likely wooden die, as also indicated by the direction, form and cross-section
of the hammering traces (see also Fig. 4, below). Forming the cap lead to differing thickness of the cap (0.45mm). As a final step, the knob
was cast-on (Fig. 12)

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formation and corresponding final thickness. This value


cannot take into account all material losses occurring during shaping, such as flaking off of oxygen, polishing and
grinding as well as usage. The biaxial deformation is itself
an approximation of the real movement of matter during
die forging. The temperature of annealing for both helmets was below the solidus curve of the alpha-phase in
the equilibrium diagram Cu-Sn, but was high enough to
homogenize the solid solution (according to the composition of the alloy usually between 550600C; a fire with
charcoal gives more stable temperatures). This effect is
not obtained in the course of a single heat treatment, but
results from several alternating cycles of annealing and
cold deformation. For both helmets, the last step of production was cold deformation, rather than annealing,
most likely to increase the hardness of the cap.

Manufacture
For the helmets from Endrd, kocjan, the former Guttmann-collection and potentially the helmet from Mantova
(and maybe Sehlsdorf), we can assume a production of
both parts with the same alloy; it is even possible that they
came out of the same melt. The as-cast disc for the manufacture of the cap was first cast in a vertical or horizontal
bivalve mould or as an open cast; in the latter case, it is important to place charcoal on top of the molten metal once
cast in order to prevent oxidation and a rough surface. The
metal remaining from the cast (sprue, flashing) and metal
chiselled or chopped off during the production of the helmet might be collected and re-used for the casting of the
knob. For the helmet from the former Guttmann collection, it is even likely that the one rivet analysed was made
of the same alloy as cap and knob. Moreover, the assumption that the helmet from the former Zschille collection
was produced in another workshop due to its different
alloy composition and less perfect finish, cannot be supported. Several arguments support the notion that bell
helmets were cast as flat discs and then open die forged
(edging), possibly on wooden forging die(s) (Fig. 11):
1. The shape and inside surface of rivet holes indicates
casting rather than punching as already noted by H. Born
regarding the bell helmet from the former Zschille collection70. No helmet shows regular, round holes: all are
slightly distorted to an oval shape, pointing from the rim

70 Born/Hansen 1992, 342.

171

to the knob as if they were stretched to the top of the helmet (Fig. 4, 5 and 7).
2. The inside of all bell helmets shows massive tangentinal and radial traces, which bear a deeper impression towards the top of the helmet indication of a hammering
direction as indicated in Fig. 11.
The thickness of the original as-cast was more than
2 mm; according to the thickness of the rim and hammering traces on the edge of the rim, which were broadening
and therefore also increasing the stability of the helmet,
we can assume an average thickness of the as-cast disc of
45 mm (i.e. Fig. 4, below right). A disc with a diameter of
ca. 30 cm (calculated from the average circumference of
all bell helmets and an additional allowance of 6 cm in
radius) could have been cast without any problems, especially when containing with the noted amounts of Pb,
which significantly increase the castability71. The extra
allowance serves for chiselling off cracks appearing due to
material tension before they reach the actual helmet, and
to provide gaps appearing during casting in the area for
the helmet.
3. Vertical cracks were noticed on the radiography of the
helmet from the former Zschille collection72. Further vertical cracks due to material stress during die forging were
noted on the helmets of Hajdubszrmny, Kork and
Endrd.
4. The total deformation of the caps (about 80 % in the
middle of the cap of the helmet from Kork and about
4045 % close to the knob of the helmet from kocjan) is
generally lower than on decorated cap helmets with a uniform amount of deformation around 8095 % obtained
during sheet manufacturing and is in agreement with the
process of open die forging, where the rim and the centre
are less deformed, but the part in between severely (Fig.
13).
5. Differing thickness and bi-axial deformation as observed indicate die forging. In a manufacturing style similar to that noted by M. Pernot and P. Piccardo M. Pernot
for the bronze cauldron of Estissac (Aube, France; 5th cent.
BC; the cauldron is just slightly wider than the helmets)73,
the helmets all have a thicker rim (which serves also for
stiffening the helmet) and the metal thickness decreases

71 Piccardo et al. 2009, 3138.


72 Born/Hansen 1992, 343.
73 Pernot 2000, fig. 1; Piccardo/Pernot 1997.

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Fig. 12: Inside view of the cast-on knob of bell helmets. Note the untreated surface of the knob. From left to right. First row: Hajdbszrmny,
Mezkvesd, Sehlsdorf. second row: Endrd, Pikcolt, Kork. Third row: former Guttmann collection (after Born/Hansen 1991, fig. 203),
Slu}n, kocjan, former Zschille collection (after Born/Hansen 1992, fig. 8)

compared to the top of the cap, where it is again slightly


thicker. If the helmets would have been made out of a circular flange that was cut out of a previously made thin
sheet, and the flange was deformed by raising, there
would not have been such a high change in thickness.
6. The combination of weight, diameter and changing
thickness of the helmets also indicate die forging, if we assume that the as-cast disc used was cast with the same
thickness as noted on the edge of the rim (45 mm). Since
the volume of the deformed metal sheet per se does not
change, the density of copper is 8.96 g/cm3 (tin bronze is
slightly lighter) and the maximal diameter of the helmet
averages 22 cm, we can calculate the approximate weight
of the as-cast disc using the following formula V = pr2h.
The resultant weight prediction is 1.36 kg (corresponding
with the actual helmets weight, also taking into account
material loss during manufacture).
After casting, the bronze was open die forged to achieve
the bell-shaped form of the final cap. To achieve this deformation, several cycles of annealing and cold working
were applied, as indicated by the hammering traces (Fig. 5

and 11) and the metallographic structure. Since the


necessary cycles of annealing and deformation depend on
several factors as annealing temperature and duration,
quenching, strength of hammering, etc., the number of
cycles can not be calculated. Water quenching was most
likely used as well in order to avoid the precipitation of intermetallic phases (e.g. the brittle delta-phase). The last
step of production on both helmets was a slight deformation during final cold working.
A hand-turned lathe was most likely used to produce
the wax model of the knob. This is indicated both by the
perfect geometry of the knob and the horizontal decoration of the shaft. As imprints and deformation on the decoration indicate, it was already applied on the wax model
and not after casting. The central stick used in the lathe or
another one, applied inside the hole left by the first, was
used to fix the wax model in axis once covered in clay. It
also served as an indication if the knob was placed correctly in axis to the cap. After the finish of the surface, the
cap was ready for the cast-on of the knob. For this, a hole
of approx. 1.52 cm diameter was punched through at the
top of the cap, most likely with a punch. Before placing the
mould for the knob on the helmet, the inside of the helmet

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was filled with some drops of wax (Fig. 12), serving as the
inner disc to fix the knob and then surrounded with clay.
Once the wax was hard, the clay mould of the knob with
the central wooden stick was placed on the cap, so that the
stick perforated the little wax disc inside the cap, resulting
in the flashing around the hole, as seen on Fig. 12. Once
the mould was placed and fixed on the cap, the helmet
was turned and heated to remove the wax. To improve the
quality of welding by cast-on, the cap was warmed before
casting and the clay baked, but not burnt. In this way, the
diffusion process of the liquid metal on the cap increases
and the fresh cast on bronze wets the cap. Thus, the cooling rate is slower and micro-segregation in the as-cast is
reduced (this is also heavily influenced by the thickness of
the preheated clay mould). Any further traces of deformation in the microstructure in the part of the cap
around the knob were most likely applied after the knob
was cast on, as we see in the sample from the kocjan helmet, with only a few slipping bands.
The knob was cast-on at the top of every helmet; only
in the case of the helmet from Mantova it is slightly decentred. The knob of the helmet from the former Zschille
collection can even be moved74, most likely because the
cap and the mould were not pre-heated before the cast-on.
Since the knobs on all examined helmets were cast on and
not welded or soldered on, it does not seem to be very
likely that the knob from the helmet from the former
Zschille collection was cast separately and then soldered
on, as was suggested by H. Born/S. Hansen75.

Conclusions
Today, archaeologists know of twelve complete bell helmets, the knobs of two further helmets and one probable
helmet fragment. The distribution centre is in the Carpathian basin with four further finds, one each in Northern
Germany (Sehlsdorf), Northern and Southern Italy (Mantua (?) and Monte Altino [fig. 14]) and Slovenia (kocjan),
which were in all probability imports. All bell helmets date
to the rather short period of HaB1 (c. 10th cent. BC). However, their origin or evolution is still unclear. Due to their
unique physiognomy, a local invention, respectively development from the production of cap helmets, most
likely in the Carpathian Basin, seems highly reasonable.
Owing to their size, weight and the lack of any decoration
on the massive cap, bell helmets are clearly distinguish-

74 Born/Hansen 2001, 248.


75 Born/Hansen 1992, 343.

173

able from the much thinner, lighter and older (decorated)


cap and conical helmets, the decorated Italian helmets
with massive knobs and the thin, light cap helmets with
massive knobs.
We must also note that the alloy composition of bell
helmets differs from those of conical and cap helmets,
with the amount of Pb being significantly higher than in
the older helmets. On three helmets (Endrd, former Guttmann collection and kocjan), the same alloy was used to
produce both cap and knob. The helmets from Sehlsdorf
and Mantova were produced with similar alloys. The helmets from the former Zschille collection, Pikcolt and Kork
differ in that they were produced with different alloys: the
knobs of the first two helmets contain 5 wt % less Sn,
while the knob of the helmet from Kork contains less than
2 wt % Sn, but significantly high amounts of Sb, As and Ni
(over 1 wt % each). The knob of the helmets from Hajdubszrmny and Mezkvesd instead were made with
5 wt % Sn more than the cap. Weight, varying thickness
and surface documentation of the helmets, as well as the
microstructure of the caps from the kocjan and Kork helmets, supports the assumption that bell helmets were
made out of flat, 45 mm thick as-cast discs with cast rivetholes which then where die-forged. Once the calotte was
finished, the knob was cast-on using the lost wax technique.
By discussing bell helmets not only in chrono-typological terms but also in terms of their manufacture and
chemical composition, we can clearly distinguish them
from the older conical and (decorated) cap helmets, and
postulate a separate development of this helmet type in
the Carpathian Basin.
In comparison to the previous smaller, thinner decorated cap helmets, the higher thickness, compactness and
bigger size of bell helmets, which also permitted the application of a thicker, higher protective organic inlay, protected its owner much more. That bell helmets were used
in whatever kind of combat, is indicated by battle traces
e.g. on the helmet from Hajdbszrmny.

Catalogue
Catno. 1 Sehlsdorf
Sehlsdorf, Lkr. Parchim, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany single find (?) complete helmet height:
25.2 cm; 6.8 cm (knob); dm: 22.223.2 cm; thickness:
2.52.7 mm (rim); weight: 1455 g Archologisches Landesmuseum Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, invno. 315 Figure 2 and 12 Mrtz 2011a, 367; Clausing 2005, 36; Schmidt

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174

Marianne Mdlinger, Bronze Age bell helmets: new aspects on typology, chronology and manufacture

2004, 8795; 195, catno. 50, fig. on page 92; Hnsel 2003;
Born/Hansen 2001, 79; Clausing 2001, 219; Catalogue
1999b, 257, no. 154; Born/Hansen 1992, 344f.; Hundt 1997,
no. 132, pl. 39/2; Calzecchi-Onesti 1991, 77, no. 8; Albrecht
1991, 1316; Schauer 1988, 188; Keiling 1987, 96, fig. 50;
Borchhardt 1972, 129, catno. 29, 5; Hencken 1971, 43 fig. 21,
gh; Drescher 1958, 52; von Merhart 1941, 11; Sprockhoff
1956, 85; Sprockhoff 1930, 44; Beltz 1910, 253.
Find circumstances: The helmet was found during
peat cutting in 1836.
Catno. 2 Slu}n
Slu}n, Okr. Prostjov, Czech Republic hoard only
knob height: 6.5 cm; dm base: 6.2 cm Muzeum Prostjov, invno. 143.668 Figure 3 and 12 Clausing 2005, 36f.;
Sala 2005, 502514 pl. 424/21; Clausing 2001, 219; Sala/
md 1999, 19f. 31f. fig. 7,2; 10,21.
Find circumstances: In summer 1997 in the South of
Slu}n, at Zbrusky, approx. 270 m above sea level, 13 storage pits of the Lausitzer Urnfield culture were found. In
the northern half of one of the storage pits, just 30 cm
above the ground, a ceramic vessel, covered with the base
of another one with a hole maybe a Seelenloch was
found. It contained 22 complete, destroyed or only fragmented bronze objects: 12 sickles, seven socketed axes,
one knob of a helmet, a cast tube or socket and a fragment
of a sword blade (Sala/md 1999, 33).
Catno. 3 kocjan
kocjan, Obalno-kraka, Slovenia long-term votive
place knob high: 6.4 cm; weight: 248 g Naturhistorisches Museum Wien, invno. 47.626 Figure 3, 10 and 12
Clausing 2005, 36; Clausing 2001, 219; Borgna 1999, 158
fig. 5; Hencken 1971, 48 fig. 26,ac; von Merhart 1941, 12 fig.
2,10 left; Szombathy 1913, 149 fig. 94.
Find circumstances: The long-term votive place from
kocjan contains over 600 metal objects and fragments
(mainly fragmented and deliberately destroyed arms and
armour). First objects were discovered in 1909, which led
to first excavations by the Prhistorische Kommission,
k.k. Naturhistorisches Hofmuseum (today the Natural History Museum Vienna).
Catno. 4 Mantova (?)
Mantova, prov. Mantua, Lombardia, Italy find circumstances uncertain: river find close to Mantova complete
helmet height: 26.6 cm; 6.1 cm (knob); dm: 22.723.5 cm;
6.2 cm (base of the knob); thickness: 0.84 mm; weight:
1478 g Figure 3 and 12 Antikenmuseum Berlin (former
Lipperheide collection), invno. L 68 Clausing 2005, 36;
Iaia 2005, 46, fig. 4.2; Clausing 2001, 219 fig. 28; Born/

Hansen 2001, 79; 251 fig. 200; Born/Hansen 1992, 345f.;


Calzecchi-Onesti 1991, 80 no. 19; Egg/Waurick 1990, 41
Nr. 7.5 fig. 8,2; Pflug 1989, 65 no. 35; Schauer 1988, 182; 188,
447, fig. K 54ac; Borchhardt 1972, 129 no. 29,11; Mozsolics
1972, 373f. 393f.; Hencken 1971, 50 fig. 28; von Merhart
1941, 12 no. 18, footnote 15; Szombathy 1913, 149 fig. 93;
Schrder 1912, 24 fig. 15; von Lipperheide 1896, 128 no.
230b; von Wieser 1894, pl. 7/43; Catalogo della collezione
di antichit fu Amilcare Ancona (1892) 3 no. 26.
Find circumstances: The helmet was purchased from
the collection Amilcare Ancona in Milan. Further information is unknown.
Catno. 5 Hajdbszrmny
Hajdbszrmny, Hajd-Bihar megye, Hungary
hoard complete helmet height: 25.5 cm (calotte), 5.8 cm
(socket); dm: 20.5 23.5 cm; thickness: 3 mm (rim);
weight: 1338 g (not 2335 g or 2355 g!) Magyar Nemzeti Mzeum, invno. 33/1858/3 Figure 1, 7 and 12 Mrtz 2011a,
367; Vachta 2008, 123 list V.1.5. no. 1; Clausing 2005, 36f.;
Clausing 2001, 120. Mozsolics 2000, 45 no. 5 pl. 30/5; Soroceanu 1995, 65; Kovcs 1992, 45 fig. 29; Calzecchi-Onesti
1991, 77 no. 10; Patay 1990, 21 no. 7; Kemenczei 1988, 57;
Mozsolics 1984, 8193; Borchhardt 1972, 129 catno. 29,2;
Hencken 1971, 44f. fig. 21,df; Patay 1969, 200; Gimbutas
1965, 151153; MllerKarpe 1959, 114; 139; 167; 204; Mozsolics 1955, 37f. 48 fig. 4; Kossack 1954, 27f. no. 1; von Merhart 1952, 5; von Merhart 1941, 11 fig. 2,12; Hampel 1892,
4958; Hampel 1886, 74 pl. XXXIII/2; Hampel 1876, pl. XII;
Graffenried 1860, 372374 fig. 6672.
Find circumstances: The hoard was found close to the
Csege-hill in 1858 and a portion reached the Magyar Nemzeti Mzeum; other objects of the same hoard came to the
museum later, and a few might have melted down right
after the discovery. Some finds from the deposit are
housed at the Reformed College at Debrecen (Moszolics
2000, 43f.).
Catno. 6 Mezkvesd
Mezkvesd, Borsod-Abaj-Zempln megye, Hungary
hoard complete helmet height: 23.5 cm (calotte) or
22 cm according to Patay 1969, 174; 6.2 cm (socket); dm:
22.5 cm (not 2223 cm according to Patay 1969, 174); thickness: 23 mm (rim); weight: 1340 g (not 2245 g!) Magyar
Nemzeti Mzeum, invno. 60.2.2 Figure 1, 7 and 12
Mrtz 2011a, 367; Vachta 2008, 123 list V.1.5. no. 8; Clausing 2005, 36f.; Soroceanu 2005, 408; Clausing 2001, 219;
Mozsolics 2000, 55f. no. 5 pl. 52/3; Calzecchi-Onesti 1991,
77 no. 11; Patay 1990, 23 no. 1920; Schauer 1988, 188; Kemenczei 1984, 149 no. 19; Hencken 1971, 44f. fig. 21,ac;
Patay 1969, 173f. 190f. fig. 18 pl. 4145.

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175

Find circumstances: The hoard was found during levelling work in 1959 at 6065 cm depth (Patay 1969, fig. 1).

bronze cup, when several trees had to be removed during


preparation for the construction of a road.

Catno. 7 Endrd
Endrd (Gyomaendrd), Bks megye, Hungary from
the river Krs complete helmet height: 26.1 cm
(calotte), 6.2 cm (socket); dm: 1923.2 cm; thickness: up
to 5 mm (rim; according to Mozsolics 1955: 23mm!
Erkel Ferenc Mzeum Gyula, invno. 60.113.1 Figure 1, 4
and 12 Clausing 2005, 36 f.; Clausing 2001, 120; Calzecchi-Onesti 1991, 77 no. 99; Makkay 1989, 181 f. pl. 28;
Schauer 1988, 188; Borchhardt 1972, 129 catno. 129,1;
Hencken 1971, 45 fig. 2; Mozsolics 1955, 38 fig. 5,1; von
Merhart 1941, 11 fig. 2,11; Sprockhoff 1930, 46; Hampel
1886, pl. XXXIII/1.
Find circumstances: The helmet was found in the bed
of the river Krsk in or before 1874.

Catno. 10 Unknown former Zschille-collection


Unknown provenance complete helmet height: 23.1 cm;
6.1 cm (knob); dm. 20.524.9 cm; weight unknown Museum Berlin (formerly: Museum fr Vlkerkunde, Leipzig;
Grossenhain, Saxony), Zschille Collection; invno. 13.167
Figure 2 and 12 Clausing 2005, 36f.; Clausing 2001, 220;
Calzecchi-Onesti 1991, 80 no. 20; Born/Hansen 2001, 251
fig. 201; Born/Hansen 1992, 339356; Albrecht 1991, 13;
Schauer 1988, 188; Hencken 1971, 50; 54 fig. 29,ac; Patay
1969, 191; Hoffmann 1961, 98; Mozsolics 1955, 38 fig. 5,3;
von Merhart 1941, 12 fig. 2,7; Forrer 1896, no. 12.
Find circumstances: Though Northern Germany is
usually named as the find spot, this is unlikely. The collection was purchased in New York before 1896 by R. Zschille.
The helmet had been repaired several times, riveting different brass plates on the inside of the rim of the helmet,
covering also rivet holes (Born/Hansen 1992, 340).

Catno. 8 Kork
Kork (Sros/Scharosch), jud. Brakov, Romania hoard
half preserved height: 25 cm (calotte), 6.1 cm (socket);
dm: not possible to measure, approx. 23 cm; weight:
524g Muzeul National Brukenthal, Sibiu, invno. 11.992 =
A 4685 Figure 3, 5, 9 and 12 Ciugudean et al. 2006,
2733; Luca/Georgescu 2008, 2733; 51; 54f. pl. XIXIII;
Vachta 2008, 123 list V.1.5. no. 13; Clausing 2005, 2005,
36f.; Hansen 2001, 80; Clausing 2001, 219; Born/Hansen
1992, 346 fig. I, 347 note 22, 348; Calzecchi-Onesti 1991, 77
no. 16; Rusu 1990, 69f. pl. V/1; Schauer 1988, 188; Mozsolics 1985, 25 note 119; Bader 1983, 122 no. 421; PetrescuDmboviwa 1978, 144f. pl. 243/B9; Petrescu-Dmboviwa 1977,
135 pl. 324/8; Nmeti 1972, 115; Hencken 1971, 50f.
fig. 27,ce; Mozsolics 1955, 39 fig. 5,2; von Merhart 1941, 11
fig. 2,7; Berichte 1851, 289; Goos 1876, 50; Neigebaur 1851,
275; Ackner 1834, 274 pl. I/1.
Find circumstances: The find circumstances of the
hoard, most likely found in the vicinity of Kork, are unknown. The hoard was purchased from Gypsies by
G. F. Weber, the evangelic priest from Kork, before 1834.
Catno. 9 Pikcolt
Pikcolt, jud. Satu Mare, Romania hoard complete helmet height: 18 cm; dm: 22 cm; weight: 1094 g Muzeul
Municipal Carei (Nagykrolyi Vrosi Mzeum), invno.
2290 Figure 3, 5, 6 and 12 Nmeti 2009, 6567; Soroceanu 2008, 47 no. 10; Vachta 2008, 123 list V.1.5. no. 11;
Clausing 2005, 36f.; Clausing 2001, 219; Calzecchi-Onesti
1991, 80 no. 17; Rusu 1990, 77 pl. V/6; Schauer 1988, 188 fig.
7; Nmeti 1972, 113117 fig. 12 pl. 26/12; 27/14.
Find circumstances: The helmet was found in 1969 at
via Veche Livada regszl, most likely together with a

Catno. 11 Hungary (?) former Guttmann collection


Hungary (?) complete helmet height: 21.5 cm (cap);
dm: 21.3 19.5 cm; thickness of the edge: 1.23.5 mm;
socket: height: 4.5 cm; base dm: 3.9 cm; opening: 7 mm
deep; weight: 1150 g present repository unknown;
former collection Guttmann, invno. AG 1000 Figure 2
and 12 Hermann Historica, Auction October 19, 2005, no.
179; Clausing 2005, 36f.; Christies London, Auction
April 28, 2004, no. 9; Clausing 2001, 219; Born/Hansen
2001, 72 pl. XVI; 245f. 250f. 175, 270, fig. 195199; 202203.
Find circumstances: The helmet was part of the
former Guttmann-collection and sold in 2004 at Christies
and 2005 at Hermann Historica; the current repository is
unknown. According to the attached sand/chips inside
the helmet it was most likely found in a water context
(Born/Hansen 1991, 245). Further details are unknown.
Catno. 12 Unknown sold at Gorny and Mosch
Unknown provenance complete helmet height: 24 cm;
dm. approx. 21 cm; thickness: 2.5 mm (rim); weight: unknown sold at an auction of Gorny & Mosch in Munich
December 13, 2003; no. 12 Clausing 2005, 3638 fig. 6.
Find circumstances: The origin of the helmet is unknown, as is the current location.
Catno. 13 Unknown former Lipperheide collection
Former Lipperheide collection complete helmet approximately 25 cm (total height) Knigliche Museen Berlin, lost during World War II Figure 2 Hencken 1971, 50
fig. 28; von Merhart 1941, 12.

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Fig. 13: Simulation of the deformation of the bronze sheet during die
forging. Note the maximum deformation in the middle part of the cap

Find circumstances: The helmet was lent to the Knigliche


Museen zu Berlin in 1905, but after the World War II it
could not be found again (Hencken 1971, 50). One surviving picture published by Hencken shows that the helmet
belongs to the group of bell helmets.
Catno. 14 Monte Altino
Monte Altino, prov. Campobasso, Italy complete helmet find circumstances unknown high: 27.5 cm; dm:
23.5 21 cm Museo Provinciale Sannitico, Campobasso,
invno. unknown Clausing 2005, 36; Iaia 2005, 4546,
catno. 1 fig. 4.1; Clausing 2001, 219; Calzecchi Onesti 1988,
68f. 80 no. 18; fig. 12).
Find circumstances and find date are unknown.
Catno. 15 Bonyhd
Bonyhd, Tolna megye, Hungary fragment hoard
ca. 15 18 cm Magyar Nemzeti Mzeum, invno.
107/1889/167 Figure 3 Mozsolics 1985, 102104 no. 75 pl.
40/14; Hencken 1971, 43f.; Hampel 1886, pl. CLICLIII;
Wosinsky 1896, 381392.
The exact find spot of the hoard is unknown.

Fig. 14: Bell helmet from Monte Altino, Italy. The photography was
provided for free by the Soprintendenza per i Beni Archeologici
del Molise (Ministero dei Beni e delle Attivit Culturali e del Turismo
Direzione regionale per i Beni Culturali e Paesaggistici del
Molise).

Acknowledgements
The author would like to thank the Austrian Science Fund
(FWF) and the FP7/Marie Curie actions who were supporting the research with the Schrdinger-fellowship no. J
3109-G21. Special thanks to Paolo Piccardo from the DCCI,
Universit degli Studi di Genova, for fruitful discussions
and to Roberto Spottorno, DCCI, for Fig. 13. The author is
very grateful to all curators of the museums concerned

who permitted documentation, analyses and sampling of


the helmets: Katalin Bir and Ildik Szathmri (Magyar
Nemzeti Mzeum, Budapest, Hungary); Adrian Georgescu
and Dorin Barbu (Muzeul National Brukenthal); Detlef
Jantzen (Landesamt fr Kultur und Denkmalpflege,
Schwerin) Anton Kern and Hans Reschreiter (Naturhistorisches Museum Wien, Austria); Liviu Marta (Muzeul Jude-

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wean Satu Mare); Jnos Nmeti and Attila Nndor Hg


(Muzeul Municipal Carei); Milan Sala (Moravsk zemsk
muzeum, Brno, Czech Republic).

Addendum
Recently an interesting bell helmet was sold at the 65th
auction at Hermann Historica, Munich (Lot no. 419). The
origin of the helmet is unknown, as previous owner a private collection in Vienna from the 1960ies was named. According to Hermann Historica, the rim of the helmet including the rivet holes was attached recently with brass
(observation by eye from Hermann Historica). Under the
corrosion, the traces of the file or rasp needed to achieve a
smooth surface of older helmet with the newly added sheet
are visible. No traces of soldering or riveting on the sheet
are visible. The 23 cm high helmet itself shows artificial, recent corrosion (rivets, knob and cap corroded significantly
different, but the same type of corrosion is visible on the
cap and the attached brass sheet above the latter just
smoother and more turquoise). It is also important to note
that the decorated zone on the inside is much more cleaned
and smoothed. The bigger bosses were made using a ring
as a die; its impression can be seen on the outside of the
bosses. Between the bosses, sometimes also horizontal
traces of the file or rasp are visible this indicates clearly,
that the bosses were made after the file or rasp was used
and the corrosion applied. The undecorated knob was riveted on with six flat rivets and bronze lining discs on the
inside. If ever there was a hole in the knob present, it was
closed recently and covered with artificial corrosion. On the
inside, no traces of a cast-on of the knob are visible; a layer
of resin or lacquer covers the central area. The manufacturing traces inside the cap do not resemble at all the other
known, original helmets: only more or less vertical hammering (?) traces of different length are visible. The only
hammering traces pointing to the top of the helmet were
applied recently, since they overlap with the attached brass
sheet. It is highly probable that not only the decoration, the
combination of knob and cap and the corrosion is a forgery,
but the whole helmet, if we do not want to assume that an
original helmet cap achieved a massive make over.

177

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