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Ancient Greek Helmets of the Archaic and Classical Period, the Evolution of Form and Technology

Student: Pavel Nikulin

Supervisor: Askold Ivantchik

Faculty: Faculty of Humanities

Educational Programme: Classical and Oriental Archaeology (Master)

Year of Graduation: 2021

The topic of the work is determined by the need to continue studying the descriptive systems used by researchers to characterize various types of helmets. As part of my previous work on helmets from the collection of the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts, I have identified the lack of a unified descriptive system for helmets in Russian historiography. In this regard, it is extremely important to consider and analyze the studies by foreign specialists, which are based on a much larger number of monuments. The relevance of this work is also linked to the fact that in the Russian Federation (as well as throughout the post-Soviet space) the studies of classical Greek helmets were barely developed. A huge amount of information related to the study of ancient Greek helmets of the Archaic and Classical periods, accumulated by the world scholarship over the course of a century, has not been sufficiently reflected upon and understood in Russian historiography. Object of research: ancient Greek helmets of the Archaic and Classical periods. Subject of research: history of scholarship, typology, archaeological contexts in which helmets are found, scientific methods used for their study. The purpose of the work is to analyze the history of scholarship on the ancient Greek helmets and to identify problematic issues in order to determine the venues for further developments of this discipline. The main tasks in the framework of the presented work are as following: 1) To study historiographical materials related to the history of scholarship on ancient Greek helmets of the Archaic and Classical periods. 2) To critically consider the existing systems of typologies of ancient Greek helmets. 3) To analyze the main types of archaeological contexts in which ancient Greek helmets are typically found (these statistics are presented via tables – with division by helmet types and contexts). 4) To consider latest scientific methods used in research related to ancient Greek helmets and the history of their development. In the process of solving the tasks set, the following main conclusions were made: The information on ancient Greek helmets of the Archaic and Classical periods, accumulated to date, is not exhaustive, and the topic is not complete. There are many aspects to which modern scholarship on Greek military tradition in general, and on armor in particular, could not provide answers for. A number of problematic issues that deserve special attention has been identified. In addition, a possible pattern, associated with the approximate time required for the local variations of ancient Greek types of helmets to develop, was suggested. 1) A problem related to the lack of unified terminology for describing helmets. 2) The problem is non-critical acceptance of typological schemes in the scientific community. 3) The problem is the complication of typological systems, with the addition and allocation of new subtypes and phases / sublevels, based on the shape and decor of the helmet. In relation to the ancient Greek helmets of the Archaic and Classical periods, it was possible to distinguish three types of archaeological contexts. Helmets that lack provenance present the absolute majority. Based on the existing typologies of helmets, it is necessary to confirm/correct the accumulated knowledge about the development of ancient Greek helmets through involving scientific approaches, such as metallography, diffraction (and soon, perhaps, neural networks). New issues include the localization of the ore mining sites, identifying the possible "hands" of ancient Greek armorers, the features of production methods in general, as well as the identification of the relationship of the geographical region of distribution of a particular group of helmets with the production technology. Thus, helmets that do not have an exact origin and lack provenance (those make up about 69%) would become important sources of information.

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