HUNDREDS of people turned out to greet the return to the district of a 2,000-year-old Roman cavalry helmet.
The Hallaton Helmet exhibition was launched at Harborough Museum on Saturday following the painstaking efforts of an expert team at the British Museum to restore the historic artefact.
Pieced together from fragments found in a field near Hallaton ten years ago, the helmet finally went on permanent display, delighting hundreds of museum-goers.
The new permanent display was opened with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Saturday morning.
Roman re-enactors, including cavalrymen on horseback, paraded in Church Square.
Representatives from Leicestershire County and Harborough District councils attended the launch along with with conservators from the British Museum and Harborough MP Edward Garnier.
The helmet was found along with thousands of Roman and Iron Age coins and other artefacts at what experts believe was a shrine formed by a native tribe 2,000 years ago.
It has now joined the other finds – known collectively as the Hallaton Treasure – at the museum and sits alongside a temporary exhibit explaining how the helmet was restored.
Ken Wallace, of the Hallaton Fieldwork Group which made the discovery ten years ago, told the Mail: “It’s brilliant. It’s been a lot of hard work for the team at the British Museum.
“The coins were available for display fairly quickly but it takes a tremendous amount of time to restore the helmet.
“It’s the icing on the cake.”
Treasure project manager Helen Sharp said: “The launch was absolutely fantastic. We had 700 people in the museum and at least 500 people outside watching the Romans. We had some really positive feedback. So all the hard work paid off.”