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Lasse E




Location: Denmark
Joined: 05 Dec 2013

Posts: 4

PostPosted: Tue 17 Dec, 2013 2:36 pm    Post subject: Did there exist viking helmets with faceplates?         Reply with quote

Hello there you all, you must excuse me that my first post is also a question.

I was wondering if there is any pictorial or archeologic evidence for helmets in 900-1000 with full facemasks in scandinavia or england. I often see helmets like these offered as 'viking helmets' on the internet but I haven't been able to find any discussions about it.

http://www.kovexars.cz/routines/new_window_pi...vodoznak=1

Here is a example.
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Peter Messent




Location: Texas
Joined: 03 Jan 2009

Posts: 226

PostPosted: Tue 17 Dec, 2013 3:01 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

To the best of my knowledge, the only existing archaeological helmet that is certainly viking is the Gjermundbu helmet. Pictorial evidence also shows simple rounded caps with nose guards, without the spectacle plate on the Gjermundbu. So no, there is no evidence that I am aware of for a full-faceplate Viking helmet - I would assume that the one you linked is intended for some type of HEMA or the like, where face protection may be required.

Naturally, lack of evidence is not itself evidence for the lack of something. If you want something a little more 'out there' in terms of what is considered normal, take a look at some Vendel helmets. The Gjermundbu helmet bears a close resemblance to some Vendel helmets, so I personally wouldn't consider it unreasonable that other Viking helmets did as well. The Gjermundbu helmet is dated to the 10th century IIRC.

As for English, I'm less familiar. However, the Sutton Hoo helmet (7th c I think?) has a full face mask.

Hope that helps some,
Pete
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Tom King




Location: florida
Joined: 11 Sep 2009
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PostPosted: Tue 17 Dec, 2013 5:42 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

you have the Gjermundbu helmet, which is similar to a few faced vendel helmets.

The thing you posted looks more like a early transitional norman helmet from the 11th or early 12th century rather than a viking helmet

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Mart Shearer




Location: Jackson, MS, USA
Joined: 18 Aug 2012

Posts: 1,276

PostPosted: Tue 17 Dec, 2013 7:22 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Agreed that the example given seems closer to the attached Spoleto Becket Martyrdom wall painting than the (big picture) Viking Gjermundbu.
Here's a decent paper on the topic.
http://www.gav.org.uk/Research/Viking%20Age%20Helmets.pdf





 Attachment: 60.22 KB
Spoleto Becket-clrhlm.jpg


ferrum ferro acuitur et homo exacuit faciem amici sui
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Greg E




Location: Nebraska
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PostPosted: Tue 17 Dec, 2013 7:52 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I think the Rus had helmets that sound like you are referring to. If you consider the Rus to be Vikings. The early ones certainly were.
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David Lewis Smith




Location: NC
Joined: 26 Aug 2003
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PostPosted: Tue 17 Dec, 2013 8:13 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

There are examples like the Sutton Hoo find as well.
David L Smith
MSG (RET)
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Paul Mortimer




Location: England, Essex
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PostPosted: Wed 18 Dec, 2013 11:15 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

So far, there are no full face helmets from the Viking period. The Sutton Hoo, and the helmets from Vendel and Valsgärde in Sweden are pre-Viking. There is also a remnant face from the island of Gotland, (Broa) which was from a helmet, but this, too, was pre-Viking.
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William P




Location: Sydney, Australia
Joined: 11 Jul 2010

Posts: 1,436

PostPosted: Wed 18 Dec, 2013 5:34 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

These aren't viking either but the kipchaks and other horse cultures around Russia and the black sea in the 8th to 11th centuries and later area were well known for having fluted helmets with detachable face masks.
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David Lewis Smith




Location: NC
Joined: 26 Aug 2003
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PostPosted: Wed 18 Dec, 2013 9:19 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Paul Mortimer wrote:
So far, there are no full face helmets from the Viking period. The Sutton Hoo, and the helmets from Vendel and Valsgärde in Sweden are pre-Viking. There is also a remnant face from the island of Gotland, (Broa) which was from a helmet, but this, too, was pre-Viking.


This may not be the place for this however I disagree with Paul to an extent. His definition is correct by text book. The text books are being nudged a bit however.

Recent discoveries, one very notable one (link below) points to a more gradual expansion of viking activity over a longer time period. The Viking Period did not suddenly spring upon England one night, rather the practice of viking is older and probably significantly older than 793.

Part of this is based on my interpretation of the word viking.

noun; 1. any of the Scandinavian seafaring pirates and traders who raided and settled in many parts of northwestern Europe

adjective; 1. of or relating to the Vikings or the period in which they lived.

verb: 1. the act of raiding and trading by Scandinavians

Let's start with Sutton Hoo.
ca. 639 A.D. Date of the Sutton-Hoo ship-burial, a rich Germanic grave containing artifacts of Swedish manufacture.
So by conventional definition Sutton Hoo is not 'Viking' and falls in the 'Heroic' or Migration Age of 300 A.D. to 792 A.D. The artifacts are not native to England, and we know that there were Swedish 'Vikings' I would submit that the occupant of this grave and those that honored him could be defined as 'Vikings' It is a full 160 years before the raid on Lindisfarne but it is not without precedent to call Sutton Hoo a Viking burial. To be humorous about it, 'They weren't form England baby, and they were open for business'.

Skipping ahead 150 years
793 A.D. Norse sea-raiders sack the Anglo-Celtic monastery at Lindisfarne.
This is the accepted date of the 'Viking' age began. The whole idea falls apart in the face of logic, Suddenly one year Norsemen show up and sack a monastery never haven shown up in England before? See image below. It is not a a couple of low walled buildings with some unarmed monks. The photo below is modern Lindisfarne but if one looks at the terrain it is no minor undertaking. [pardon the pun] Monks from the time are not pasty faced or bandy legged pacifists ripe for the picking. They own land, they have tenants, this was a major community. Lindisfarne would have had security in the form of armed soldiers and populous. I would think this was not the fist time our Viking friends had been there, or even the second or third. There was careful planning, there was reconnaissance and probably a good deal of subterfuge.

So let us look at this, in 2008 two ship burials were found,
we have two ships, In Estonia and while the research is not complete it points to Scandinavians armed for war and far from home. Clearly on a vik, or as we would say Vikings going about the business of viking. It points to a much longer period of time in which the practice of viking was taking place

The short answer in this thread is besides oculars there are no full face 'viking' helms from the period of 793 to 1066. However the Viking age is older than the 8th century

this is a good read, worth the time and effort
http://www.archaeology.org/issues/95-1307/fea...el-oseberg


This is Lindisfarne.
I spent over 24 years in the military, 20 years of that was as a leader of Soldiers, i have helped plan and planed raids and assaults on strong points. This is a tough nut to crack. The monks did not build here for the fresh air. They built on a natural strong point.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons...Island.jpg

David L Smith
MSG (RET)
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Paul Mortimer




Location: England, Essex
Joined: 28 Aug 2003
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Posts: 285

PostPosted: Thu 19 Dec, 2013 12:12 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi David, as you suggest this may be a bit off-topic.

However, you are, of course, correct in much of what you say, and all historical periods are artificial constructs; just convenient starting points in our study of the past. You are right, too, in that the 'Vikings' did not really begin with the raid on Lindisfarne, as people from around the North Sea were migrating, visiting, raiding and trading long before that, and had probably done so for centuries. There is ample evidence that Scandinavians were coming to England from very early on, at least from what we normally call the Migration Period and perhaps never stopped until the Late Saxon times, if even then. The culture/world view that we attribute to the 'Vikings' existed long, long before the official start of the period and was not unique to Vikings.

It is the English tradition that begins the Viking period with the raid on Lindisfarne, Scandinavian scholars tend to have other dates for the start of the period.

This does not alter the fact that the Swedish helmets and that from Sutton Hoo are early and not really 'Viking'.
The consensus on the dating of Sutton Hoo is that the burial took place about 625 A.D. There have been scholars who have suggested a slightly later date, mainly based on coin dating, but they have not been able to prove their hypothesis and a definite date eludes us. The consensus is based on the idea that it may be Raedwald's burial. Many of the artefacts, including the helmet, may have been quite old, perhaps a hundred years or so, by the time they were deposited in the tomb.

Helmets of this sort, with or without faceplates, occur only in a certain part of Sweden and Anglo-Saxon England (so far) - where they were made is a big question. Dies of the type that make the pressed plates have been found in a number of places, including England and Sweden, but to say, as you do, " The artifacts are not native to England,...." is not safe. By the time the Sutton Hoo artefacts were made, the families of the people who made them, even if originally of Scandinavian extraction, may have been in England for a couple of generations or more. The Staffordshire Hoard pressed plates (pressbleche) and the Caenby, which would appear to have come from similar types of helmets show that there may have actually been a much wider geographical spread for the use of such helmet types in England, than burial evidence in Sweden would indicate there, where (so far) they are confined to the area relatively close to Uppsala. Not one of those helmets, incidentally, has a full face-plate.

Then there is the helmet found at Benty Grange, Derbyshire, in 1848 by Thomas Bateman, which almost certainly had pressed plates of silver fixed to it. This has only been understood fairly recently when the archaeologist Kevin Leahy re-read Bateman's report and realised that what he was describing were likely to be the same type of plates that were fixed to the Sutton Hoo and the Swedish helmets. In 1848 no-one had seen examples of them and so the fragmentary silver plates were not thought important enough to worry about and were not kept.

Cheers,

Paul
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