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Iron Age helmets and Anglo-Saxon Tardigrades

Home / Blog / Iron Age helmets and Anglo-Saxon Tardigrades
Dana Goodburn Brown and Justin Richardson

Justin Richardson, a silversmith based in Canterbury visited the CSI lab yesterday to discuss the next stages of work on his replica of the Canterbury Museum Iron Age helmet that is in the lab for conservation.

He has finished the general shaping of the replica helmet and conservation cleaning has revealed a beautiful dark blue green patina, surface finishes and decorative toolmarks on the rare 1st. BC bronze helmet. Justin was able to take a close look at the cleaned helmet at various levels of magnification and felt confident with how he will proceed with the final stages of his work at the bench.

Once both conservation treatment and replication work at the silversmith’s bench are finished, the two will be reunited in a display at the Roman Museum in Canterbury. CSI's Dana Goodburn Brow and Justin also plan to collaborate on a publication to illustrate the stages of conservation, analysis and manufacturing method for the helmet.

CSI Volunteer John Hawks was also in the lab to talk to Justin about his days wearing a later Roman helmet while marching with the Ermine Street Guard. John brought in a great reference book on Roman helmets as well as his own helmet replica.

Archaeological Conservator Dana Goodburn Brown was also very keen to show me the Keyence microscope, a very special digital 3D microscope that allowed us to see clear images with good depth of field from X20-1000, take measurements, and other 'whizzy' methods of image analysis.

The Keyence microscope was being demo'd in the lab yesterday to show what it can do and Dana says that this is most definitely now on the CSI wishlist - only £52,000.


Dana was very excited to find further evidence of tardigrades being present in one of our Meads Anglo-Saxon graves. We are excited to show our tardigrade photos to experts at the Natural History Museum, and see if we are correct in our interpretation. Dana said "tardigrades eat moss, so we think the grave had moss placed into it".

For more information about the archaeological find, see: and

Contact for further info:
Craig Bowen at Canterbury Museums Craig.Bowen@CANTERBURY.GOV.UK


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