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Viking Arms and Armor | by Helgi Halldórsson/Freddi
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Viking Arms and Armor

Today there is only one known example of a complete Viking helmet in existence. This Viking helmet was excavated on a farm called Gjermundbu in Ringerike in central Norway. Gjermundbu is located in Haugsbygda, a village in northeast of Hønefoss, in Buskerud, Norway. The helmet dates to the 10th century. This helmet was made of iron and was in the shape of a rounded or peaked cap made from four plates after the spangenhelm pattern. This helmet has a rounded cap and has a "spectacle" guard around the eyes and nose which formed a sort of mask, in addition to a possible mail aventail. The eye guard in particular suggests a close affinity with the earlier Vendel period helmets. From runestones and other illustrations, it is known that the Vikings also wore simpler helmets, often peaked caps with a simple noseguard.

 

Viking helmets have been excavated from only three sites: Gjermundbu in Norway, Tjele Municipality in Denmark and Lokrume parish on Gotland Island, Sweden. The one from Tjele consists of nothing more than rusted remains of a helmet similar to the Gjermundbu helmet, the same goes for the one from Gotland. It is possible that many of the Viking helmets were made from hardened leather and ironstrips, since many Icelandic stories and Scandinavian picture stones tell and show warriors with helmets. It is also possible that helmets were inherited, instead of buried with the deceased, and went from father to son, and therefore stayed in a family for generations before eventually being turned into scrap metal or something else, like an axe.

 

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Taken on July 14, 2013