Reflections on gilt

Finder Ken Wallace, 71, takes a look at the 2,000-year-old Roman cavalry helmet which has shed new light on the conquest of Britain after experts pieced it back together 10 years since he found it in an Iron Age shrine. The sheet iron helmet, once decorated with gold leaf, is the only one to have been found in Britain with its silver gilt plating intact.

It features scenes of Roman military victory and is believed to have been buried in the years around Roman Emperor Claudius’s invasion of Britain in AD43. It was unearthed at Hallaton, Leicestershire, after retired teacher Mr Wallace detected it with his second-hand metal detector and was put on show at the British Museum yesterday.