By smacdowall, Jan 16 2016 11:24AM
I recently visited the British Museum's exhibition on the Celts. I thought it was very good with an excellent collection of artefacts well displayed and well explained. The exhibition is on until the end of January.
Some items, such as the Battersea shield, are old favourites which I had seen before, others were new to me. One thing that always strikes me when I see Ancient British/Gallic shields is that they are considerably smaller than the complete body shields that tend be given to our miniature figures. Given the individualistic style of fighting a smaller handier shield than a Roman scutum makes sense.
This bronze helmet used to be thought of as an Ancient British helmet, however the label in the display case now attributes it to a Roman, or a Briton serving in the Roman army, due to the Roman numerals engraved on the side.
This helmet used to be known to wargamers as the ‘jockey helmet’ thanks to the illustration in Phil Barker’s Armies and Enemies of Imperial Rome which portrayed it being worn back to front. Minifigs even produced a half naked ancient Brit (still available) modelled on the illustration. In reality the helmet would have had cheek guards and the projecting horizontal piece was a neck guard rather than a peak.
Bearing in mind the recent piecing together of the Hallaton helmet — a Roman cavalry helmet found in a pre-Roman conquest British grave — maybe it is time to put a few more clothes on our Ancient British warriors and issue them with some Roman kit.