2,500-year-old treasure — a battle-ready gift — unearthed in Croatia, video shows

An archaeologist excavating an ancient burial site in Croatia picked up a rock — and started shouting.

Archaeologist Marta Kalebota heard the excitement and rushed over, she told the Croatian news outlet Dubrovački Vjesnik.

Underneath the rock sat a battle-ready gift from 2,500 years ago.

Excavation at the ancient burial site on the Pelješac peninsula began in 2020, according to a 2021 study. The site, known as Gomile, has at least 27 stone burial mounds filled with skeletons, weapons, jewelry and other artifacts.

Archaeologists recently excavated an added section next to the graves — and found a well-preserved ancient helmet.

The 2,500-year-old headgear had been left near the graves as a gift and was identified as a Greek-Illyrian helmet, the Dubrovnik Museums said in an April 11 news release.

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A video shared by the museum on YouTube shows archaeologists carefully removing the dusty blueish-green helmet. Close-up photos reveal the helmet’s angular face opening, detailed engraving and mohawk-like top stripe.

The 2,500-year-old Greek-Illyrian helmet while still partially buried.
The 2,500-year-old Greek-Illyrian helmet while still partially buried.

Hrvoje Potrebica, the archaeologist who first spotted the ancient helmet, told the Croatian news outlet HRT that the find was tentatively dated to the sixth century B.C., a period from 600 B.C. to 501 B.C.

Helmets have always served as a symbol of power and high-status, Potrebica told HRT.

The 2,500-year-old helmet sits in a container after being excavated.
The 2,500-year-old helmet sits in a container after being excavated.

Another ancient helmet was found at the burial site in Pelješac in 2020. This helmet was about 2,300 years old, the museum said in a previous news release.

The second and most recent helmet discovery “makes multiple contributions to the understanding of the funeral rites of the Illyrian communities” who once lived in the area, the museum wrote on YouTube.

The Illyrians were an ancient community who lived in the modern-day Balkan Peninsula.

An archaeologist carries the 2,500-year-old helmet.
An archaeologist carries the 2,500-year-old helmet.

The 2,500-year-old helmet “puts Pelješac among the most important archaeological zones along the eastern coast of the Adriatic (Sea),” the museum said.

Archaeologists plan to study the helmet in more detail.

The Pelješac peninsula is in southern Croatia, about a 40-mile drive north of Dubrovnik and along the Adriatic Sea.

Google Translate was used to translate the news releases from the Dubrovnik Museums and news articles from Dubrovački Vjesnik and HRT.

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