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

The Lokrume helmet fragment is a decorated eyebrow piece from a Viking Age helmet. It is made of iron, the surface of which is covered with silver and features an interlace pattern in niello or wire. Discovered in Lokrume, a small settlement on the Swedish island of Gotland, the fragment was first described in print in 1907 and is in the collection of the Gotland Museum.

The fragment is dated to around the tenth century AD, on the basis of its interlace pattern; similar designs appear on tenth-century swords. It is all that remains of one of five Viking helmets to survive in any condition; the others are the Gjermundbu helmet from Norway, the Yarm helmet from England, the Tjele helmet fragment from Denmark, and a fragment from Kyiv, Ukraine. These are all examples of the "crested helmets" that entered use in Europe around the sixth century, and derive from the earlier Anglo-Saxon and Vendel Period helmets.


The Lokrume 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;[1][4][5][6][3] under the former method, a grid would be cut into the iron and the silver hammered on, whereas under the latter, the silver would be filled into purpose-shaped grooves cut into the iron.[7] The silver was then inlaid with niello or wire (possibly copper).[1][5][3][7] The inlaid pattern stretches the width of the fragment, though much of the sinister portion is now lost. The pattern is patterned with intertwined bands and circles.[8] Transverse bands further adorn the area around this pattern.[8]


The fragment was discovered in Lokrume,[1] a small settlement on the Swedish island of Gotland. The circumstances of its discovery are otherwise unknown.[8] It was first described in print in the academic journal Fornvännen in 1907;[7] the two-sentence mention, which included a drawing, stated that the piece was found in Lokrume, and held in the collection of Visby Fornsal—now known as the Gotland Museum.[1] As of 2024 the fragment remains at the museum, where it is catalogued as GF B 1683.[9][10]


Refer to caption
The reconstructed pattern from the fragment

See also: Sutton Hoo helmet § Helmets


The fragment's style of interlace pattern (a variation of the drakslingor [sv] motif[9]) dates to around the tenth century AD; similar patterns appear on tenth-century swords, including examples from Norway and one found near Lipiany in Poland.[8][5] This places the fragment squarely within the Viking Age, which lasted from the end of the eighth century to the middle of the eleventh.[8][11]


Refer to caption
The Gjermundbu helmet

Beginning in the late sixth century, and continuing until around the tenth or eleventh, the predominant style of helmet used in Scandinavia and England was the "Nordic crested helmet"; these contrasted with the spangenhelm and lamellenhelm that typified continental wear.[12][13] Crested helmets were typically constructed from a brow band, a nose-to-nape band, lateral bands from ears to apex, cheek guards, and some form of neck protection; iron plates filled the gaps, with rivets holding the pieces together.[14][15] Frequent motifs included prominent brow pieces, and crests running along the nose-to-nape bands.[14] In addition to a decorative function, the crests likely helped deflect glancing blows.[16][17][18][19]

Remains of only four other Viking Age helmets (only two of which are from Scandinavia) are known: the Gjermundbu helmet from Norway and the Yarm helmet from England, as well as the Tjele helmet fragment from Denmark, and a fragment from Kyiv, Ukraine.[20][21][22][23][24] The Lokrume piece was the first of these to be identified;[1] the Tjele fragment was discovered in 1850, but mistaken for a saddle mounting until 1984.[20][25] Like the other four, the Lokrume helmet appears to have been a descendant of the earlier Vendel Period and Anglo-Saxon helmets from Scandinavia and England, respectively, and the final iteration of the Nordic crested helmets.[26][27][28]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Fornvännen 1907, p. 208.
  2. ^ a b Thunmark-Nylén 1998, taf. 264.
  3. ^ a b c d Thunmark-Nylén 2000b, pp. 521–522.
  4. ^ Lindqvist 1925, p. 192.
  5. ^ a b c Grieg 1947, p. 45.
  6. ^ Bruce-Mitford 1978, p. 158 n.3.
  7. ^ a b c Vlasatý 2016.
  8. ^ a b c d e Thunmark-Nylén 2006a, p. 317.
  9. ^ a b Gotlands Museum.
  10. ^ Thunmark-Nylén 2000c, p. 1070.
  11. ^ Lindqvist 1925, pp. 192–193.
  12. ^ Steuer 1987, pp. 191, 199–200.
  13. ^ Tweddle 1992, pp. 1083, 1086–1089, 1125.
  14. ^ a b Steuer 1987, p. 200.
  15. ^ Tweddle 1992, pp. 1083, 1086–1089.
  16. ^ Bruce-Mitford 1952, pp. 707, 752 n.21.
  17. ^ Bruce-Mitford 1974, p. 210.
  18. ^ Bruce-Mitford 1978, p. 158.
  19. ^ Tweddle 1992, p. 1803.
  20. ^ a b Munksgaard 1984, p. 87.
  21. ^ Tweddle 1992, pp. 1125–1128.
  22. ^ Hjardar & Vike 2011, pp. 187–190.
  23. ^ Hjardar & Vike 2016, pp. 188–190.
  24. ^ Caple 2020, p. 45.
  25. ^ Boye 1858, pp. 191–192, 197–198.
  26. ^ Munksgaard 1984, pp. 87–88.
  27. ^ Steuer 1987, pp. 199–203, 230–231.
  28. ^ Tweddle 1992, pp. 1086, 1125–1129.