A copper alloy crown found in situ still on its owner’s skull. Dates to ca. 250-150 B.C.

Kane Khanh | Archeaology
July 19, 2023

This headdress or crown was found on the head of a warrior buried with his sword and shield. It is made from two sheets of bronze held together with rivets. The bronze band which went around the head is decorated with La Tène-style patterns. The metal was worn directly on the head and not padded or strengthened with leather; when found impressions of human hair were left in the corrosion on the inner surface.

crown; head-dress; diadem | British Museum

Also found in the grave were: an iron sword with bronze scabbard fittings and suspension rings for holding the sword on a belt; bronze parts from a wooden shield, and a bronze brooch decorated with applied coral studs.

No other head dresses from Iron Age Europe have been found in a grave. The discovery of this unusual burial led Dr Ian Stead at the British Museum to look again at other odd objects from Iron Age and Roman Britain. Another unusual Iron Age burial, in Cambridge, may also have contained a head-dress. This head-dress is very like those worn by some priests in Roman Britain over 200 years later. Were these Iron Age ‘crowns’ also only worn by priests (druids) in the Iron Age? If so, was this person a warrior and a priest?