Antaeus - Communicationes ex Instituto Archaeologico Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae 24. (A Magyar Tudományos Akadémia Régészeti Intézetének közleményei, 1997-1998)

László Kocsis: A cavalry sports helmet find from Albertfalva

László Kocsis A CAVALRY SPORTS HELMET FIND FROM ALBERTFALVA During the rearrangement of the older finds in the Aquincum Museum, a cheek-piece of a copper-alloy helmet came up among the finds from the excavations of Tibor Nagy at Albertfalva. The piece had been found during the excavation campaign of 1949 and since that time it has been kept in the Roman Collection of the Budapesti Történeti Múzeum (Budapest Historical Museum) under the inventory number BTM Alb. 56.6.376. (Figs 1-2) The object is a 179 mm high, 118 mm wide and 0.5-0.7 mm thick left-side cheek-piece made of a copper-alloy sheet in the repoussé technique. The surface is slightly curved. Its shape is a rectangle, slightly narrowing towards its base, with a curvilinear rim following the outline of the eye, the protruding cheekbone, the drawn back mouth and the pointed chin. At the back, along the line of the ear, the rim is vertical, and the edge running parallel with the jawbone attaches to it at an obtuse angle. The upper part is a horizontal, rather fragmentary band formed by the U-shaped recurving of the sheet into a hinge. The cheek-piece was attached with this hinge to the bowl. A representation of an eagle standing on a solar disc, or a globe looking back while fluttering its wings and holding an ivy leaf in the beak in repoussé technique, occupies almost the whole surface of the cheek-piece. The plumage is elaborated and in spite of the wear on the protruding parts of the sheet, it is clearly visible. On the right upper part, attaching to the bowl, emerging to some extent from the horizontal line, a stylized line of an ear in natural size was em­bossed. This part constitutes the upper and rear rim of the cheek-piece. On the ear-lobe a hole is indicated with a small depression, corresponding to a hole for wearing an earring in practice. The main motif, the eagle, is framed by an embossed rope-shaped garland, running parallel with the rim of the cheek-piece. This frame is partly covered by the ivy leaf and its stem hanging from the ear and held by the eagle. The lower part of the sheet is fragmentary, but the embossed solar disc and the four-pointed, asimmetrically carved spokes of the chariot of fire related with it, are still visible. On the rear part of the cheek-piece, under the ear-lobe a rivet hole can be observed, which in all probability served for the fastening of the leather lining inside. Due to the damages on the sheet, we possess only indirect evidences re­garding the tie-ring and its riveting at the end of the lower jawbone.1 Beside the reinforcement of the relatively thin sheet of the cheek-piece, the rim served the safe wear of the helmet. In front and at the right upper corner of the sheet, at the height of the stylized ear, where the face might have been en- 1 Thus, it is not accidental, that the sheet suffered the heaviest damages on those parts, where it was most frequently used, i. e. where originally the tie-ring and its riveting may have been placed.