AN archaeologist is on a mission to raise awareness of a historic Roman helmet discovered in the North-East.

David Sim is trying to increase local knowledge of the Guisborough helmet – one of just a handful of Roman cavalry helmets ever found.

The helmet, which dates back to the late second or third century AD, was found three miles west of Guisborough in 1864.

It was found completely squashed, but 14 years later, it ended up in the British Museum after they realised what it was and set about restoring it.

Dr Sim, who works as an experimental archaeologist in Reading, said: “I have been coming here for more than 20 years, and it wasn’t until I saw the helmet in the British Museum that I thought of Guisborough.

“Everybody I have spoken to around here doesn’t know anything about it – so it would be really good to get some form of exhibition to increase people’s awareness.

“It is a very important part of the local history – kids want to learn about history and it will be great for them to know that there was a strong Roman presence in this area.”

The story of what became known as the Guisborough helmet began in what was the then North Riding of Yorkshire when workers employed by the Cleveland Railway Company discovered a “very curious” plate of metal during road construction.

“It was found on its own with nothing else around it – that is unusual in itself,” said Dr Sim.

“It does not appear to me the work of a highly skilled metal worker, but it has been around for long enough for someone who cares about it enough to repair it.

“It was more than likely for show – it was expensive to produce but not high status.

“The big question is why was it there? There were several Roman villages in the area, and a real Roman presence in the surrounding area, especially in Whitby.”

Dr Sim’s work on the helmet began by accident when he realised that no research had been done on its history.

“My philosophy has always been if you want to know how something worked from the past, make a copy and try it,” he said.

“I created a model, and I punched it, dented it, and even threw javelins at it.”

Dr Sim began working as a blacksmith when he was only seven-years-old, but has spent the majority of his life working as an experimental archaeologist.

“I started my working life as a marine engineer - then as a designer of machines, before becoming a teacher.

“Finally, at the age of 40 I took my PhD and this changed my life and I can say with all the ups and downs it has never been dull,” he added.

If you would like to find out more about Dr Sim and his work into the Guisborough helmet, email