Last Friday saw the launch of a remarkable new acquisition on display at Canterbury Roman Museum. Excavated by Canterbury Archaeological Trust and declared one of the key finds of 2012 by the British Museum, a rare soldier’s helmet from the time of Julius Caesar, has now found a permanent home here at Canterbury Roman Museum, not far from where it was originally discovered.

The museum was abuzz as Members of Canterbury Museums and Galleries were invited to Friday night’s exclusive preview. As you walk through the doors into the first room, the helmet sits in pride of place, beside the brooch, small spike and cremated human remains which were discovered alongside it.

Joanna Jones, Director of Museums and Galleries introduced the evening, thanking all those who contributed to funding this unique acquisition. From the moment the helmet was found, to submitting the first grant and opening the first bottle of Champagne on the night, it is always nice to take a moment to reflect on just how many people contributed their time and effort to making it all happen. With so many people passionate about conserving and promoting local heritage, it made the room feel like a pretty special place to be.

Paul Bennett, Director of Canterbury Archaeological Trust, went on to explain the significance and rarity of this find – one of only four discovered – and just why a soldiers helmet became part of a late Iron Age cremation burial.

To round the evening off, members were treated to an original poetry performance by Dan Simpson, who had spent the previous four days travelling the Roman road from London to Canterbury. Speaking with local historians and visiting sites along the way fuelled him with poetic inspiration, which he relayed to us on the night, sharing his experiences and poetry.

Canterbury Museums invites everyone from near and far to not only come and view this remarkable new find but to follow the story of the Romans in Canterbury.

Poet Dan Simpson is currently in-residence at Canterbury Roman Museum and followed the Roman Road, from London to Canterbury, from 29th September to 3rd October. Follow Dan’s walk here
The Iron Age Helmet is now on display at Canterbury Roman Museum | Open Monday to Sunday 10am to 5pm. Children’s activity sheets are available at the Museum’s front desk.

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