Lokrume helmet fragment

The Lokrume helmet fragment is a decorated eyebrow piece from a Swedish helmet dating from the Viking Age.[1] Discovered in Lokrume, a small settlement on the island of Gotland, it was first published in 1907 and is in the collection of the Gotland Museum.[1] It is made of iron, the surface of which is decorated with silver and niello that forms an interlaced pattern.

Lokrume helmet fragment
1907 drawing of the fragment
MaterialIron, silver, niello
Createdc. tenth century
DiscoveredLokrume, Gotland, Sweden
Present locationGotland Museum
RegistrationGF B 1683

The fragment is from around the 10th century AD, and is one of five Viking helmets to survive in any condition; the others are another fragment from Gotland, one from Kiev, the Tjele helmet fragment from Denmark, and the Gjermundbu helmet from Norway. These are all examples of the "crested helmets" that entered use in Europe around the 6th century, and are derivatives of the earlier Anglo-Saxon and Vendel Period helmets.


The Lokrume helmet fragment is the remnant of the eyebrow piece, and part of the nose guard, from a helmet.[1][2][3] The fragment is 13.2 centimetres (5.2 in) wide.[1][2][3] An iron core was either coated or inlaid with silver, which was itself inlaid with niello.[1][4][5][3] The inlaid pattern stretches the width of the fragment, though much of the sinister portion is now lost. The pattern is symmetrical, patterned with intertwined bands and circles. Transverse bands further adorn the area around this pattern.[6]


The fragment was discovered in Lokrume,[1] a small settlement on the Swedish island Gotland. The circumstances of its discovery are otherwise unknown.[6] It was first described in print in the academic journal Fornvännen in 1907; the two-sentence mention, which included a drawing, stated that the piece was in the collection of Visby Fornsal—now known as the Gotland Museum.[1] The museum still holds the piece in its collection, where it is catalogued as GF B 1683.[7][8]


Though the context in which the fragment was found is now unknown,[6] the style of interlaced pattern dates to around the tenth century AD.[9] This places the fragment squarely within the Viking Age,[6][10] which lasted from the end of the eighth century to the middle of the eleventh. Remains of only four other Viking Age helmets are known: another fragment from Gotland, in Högbro, the Tjele helmet fragment from Denmark, and a fragment from Kiev, Ukraine, in addition to the Gjermundbu helmet found in Norway.[11][12] The Lokrume piece was the first of these to be identified;[1] the Tjele fragment was discovered in 1850,[13] but mistaken for a saddle mounting until 1984.[11][14] Like the other four, the fragment from Lokrume appears to be a descendant of the earlier Scandinavian Vendel Period and Anglo-Saxon helmets, and the end of the line of "crested helmets" that appeared in Europe around the sixth century.[15][16][17]


  1. Fornvännen 1907, p. 208.
  2. Thunmark-Nylén 1998, taf. 264.
  3. Thunmark-Nylén 2000b, pp. 521–522.
  4. Lindqvist 1925, p. 192.
  5. Bruce-Mitford 1978, p. 158 n.3.
  6. Thunmark-Nylén 2006a, p. 317.
  7. Gotlands Museum.
  8. Thunmark-Nylén 2000c, p. 1070.
  9. Grieg 1947, p. 45.
  10. Lindqvist 1925, pp. 192–193.
  11. Munksgaard 1984, p. 87.
  12. Tweddle 1992, pp. 1125–1128.
  13. Boye 1858, pp. 191–192.
  14. Boye 1858, pp. 197–198.
  15. Munksgaard 1984, pp. 87–88.
  16. Steuer 1987, pp. 199–203, 230–231.
  17. Tweddle 1992, pp. 1086, 1125–1129.


  • Boye, Vilhelm (1858). "To fund af smedeværktöi fra den sidste hedenske tid i Danmark". Annaler for Nordisk Oldkyndighed og Historie (in Danish): 191–200, pl. II–IV.
  • Bruce-Mitford, Rupert (1978). The Sutton Hoo Ship-Burial, Volume 2: Arms, Armour and Regalia. London: British Museum Publications. ISBN 978-0-7141-1331-9.
  • Grieg, Sigurd (1947). Gjermundbufunnet: En høvdingegrav fra 900-årene fra Ringerike. Norske Oldfunn (in Norwegian). VIII. Oslo: Bergen. OCLC 984069139.
  • "Hjälm, del av". Gotlands Museum. Retrieved 9 February 2019.
  • Lindqvist, Sune (1925). "Vendelhjälmarnas ursprung" (PDF). Fornvännen (in Swedish). 20: 181–207. ISSN 0015-7813.
  • Munksgaard, Elisabeth (1984). "A Viking Age Smith, his Tools and his Stock-in-trade". Offa. 41: 85–89. ISSN 0078-3714.
  • Steuer, Heiko (1987). "Helm und Ringschwert: Prunkbewaffnung und Rangabzeichen germanischer Krieger". In Häßler, Hans-Jürgen (ed.). Studien zur Sachsenforschung (in German). 6. Hildesheim: Lax. pp. 189–236. ISBN 978-3-7848-1617-3.
  • Thunmark-Nylén, Lena (1998). Die Wikingerzeit Gotlands (II): Typentafeln (in German). Stockholm: Almqvist & Wiksell. ISBN 978-91-7402-287-2.
  • Thunmark-Nylén, Lena (2000b). Die Wikingerzeit Gotlands (IV:2): Katalog (in German). Stockholm: Almqvist & Wiksell. ISBN 978-91-7402-308-4.
  • Thunmark-Nylén, Lena (2000c). Die Wikingerzeit Gotlands (IV:3): Katalog (in German). Stockholm: Almqvist & Wiksell. ISBN 978-91-7402-309-1.
  • Thunmark-Nylén, Lena (2006a). Die Wikingerzeit Gotlands (III:1): Text (in German). Stockholm: Almqvist & Wiksell. ISBN 978-91-7402-354-1.
  • Tweddle, Dominic (1992). The Anglian Helmet from 16–22 Coppergate (PDF). The Archaeology of York. 17/8. London: Council for British Archaeology. ISBN 1-872414-19-2. Archived from the original (PDF) on 25 February 2017.
  • "Ur främmande samlingar: 2" (PDF). Fornvännen. 2: 205–208. 1907. ISSN 0015-7813. (in Swedish)
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