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The exhibit

Zafer Papoura, Knossos. 1450-1400 BC

Boar’s-tusk helmets are made of rows of wild boars’ tusks attached to a leather or cloth base, with cheek guards to protect the warrior’s face. This type of helmet is described in detail in Homer’s Iliad, being worn by the Cretan hero Meriones. This particular example was found with a burial accompanied by weapons and other insignia of rank, in a chamber tomb at Zafer Papoura in Knossos. It has been restored with a modern base and cheek guards, using the 80 intact boars’ tusks discovered during the excavation. Its delicate construction indicates that it was not used as actual armour but as a symbol of rank at ceremonial displays. Remains of boar’s-tusk helmets have been found in the Neopalatial cemetery of Poros, while a similar example was discovered in the cemetery of Armenoi in Rethymno. Such helmets were also produced in mainland Greece, while they are depicted on Late Bronze Age vases, frescoes and other artefacts made of various materials. During the Late Palatial period, around the second half of the 15th millennium BC, armour and weapons were deposited in the tombs of illustrious warriors of the new Mycenaean aristocracy of Crete, which was associated with mainland Greece.
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