Gevninge helmet fragment
The Gevninge helmet fragment is the dexter eyepiece of a helmet from the Viking Age or end of the Nordic Iron Age. It was found in 2000 during the excavation of a Viking farmstead near Lejre, Denmark. The fragment is moulded from bronze and gilded, and consists of a stylised eyebrow with eyelashes.
About Gevninge helmet fragment in brief
The Gevninge helmet fragment is the dexter eyepiece of a helmet from the Viking Age or end of the Nordic Iron Age. It was found in 2000 during the excavation of a Viking farmstead near Lejre, Denmark. The fragment is moulded from bronze and gilded, and consists of a stylised eyebrow with eyelashes above an oval opening. It is one of two Scandinavian eyepieces discovered alone, giving rise to the suggestion that it was intentionally deposited in an invocation of the one-eyed god Odin. It would have been part of a decorated “crested helmet”, the type of headgear that was common to England and Scandinavia from the sixth through eleventh centuries AD. The settlement’s location suggests that it functioned as an outpost through which anyone would have to pass when sailing to the capital, and in which trusted and loyal guardians would serve. In the Anglo-Saxon poem Beowulf, helmets are mentioned in ways that indicate their significance, and often are stacked with a pyre, whose words are used to refer to the dying words of those wearing them, such as ‘Grendel’ or ‘Odin’ The Gevinninge helmet fragments are rare, perhaps because they were never deposited in great numbers, and that they signified the importance of those who wore them.
Examples from the Nordic Viking Age and Northern Iron Age are partly partly from the plainer Anglo- Saxon and Roman helmets from Burghorwell and Shorwell, and were initially misidentified as pots. The Tjele helmet fragment in Denmark is the only such helmet found in Denmark, while the richly ornamented helmets found at Sutton Hoo, Vendel, and Valsgärde may provide the closest approximation to what the Gevningse helmet would have looked like when whole. The top three holes might have attached it to the helmet cap, the bottom three to some form of face protection such as a face mask or camail, or it might have been lost or discarded.