Ancient helmets spotlighted in Ragusa
Nine of 14 a rare loan from Berlin's Pergamon Museum19 April, 13:01
The fourteen pieces of head armour, some of which are over 2,500 years old, are on show at the newly restored Palazzo Garofalo Museum in an exhibition entitled 'Helmets For Men And For Gods'. Nine of the items are a rare loan from Berlin's Pergamon Museum, while the remaining five have travelled from three different Sicilian collections.
The oldest of the Berlin items, which have all been the subject of a recent restoration, date back to the 7th century BC. Uncovered in Greece, archaeologists believe they were originally war trophies, left as thanksgiving offerings for the gods.
The five bronze helmets from Italy were all discovered off the coast of Sicily in international waters. "These are the 'helmets for men' referred to in the exhibition title," explained Ragusa city's archaeology chief Giovanni Di Stefano.
"We imagine they were the subject of trade in ancient times between wealthy merchants, transported across the Mediterranean as relics of war, mute witnesses to epic battles". The theme of war is also explored through a number of ceramic and pottery artefacts decorated with designs celebrating battles and depicting the rituals linked to being a soldier. A multimedia room aims to render the experience of battle as vividly as possible, with armed warriors guiding visitors to a large screen showing key scenes from famous war films. The exhibition also includes a special route for younger visitors, who have an interactive workshop and their own set of alternative explanatory boards. "The idea is to make this a family experience, because history should be an opportunity for sharing ideas, knowledge and emotions between adults and children," said Ragusa Culture Superintendent Vera Greco. Meanwhile, the ground floor of the museum brings the theme of conflict into the present day, with a hard-hitting exhibition of work by photojournalist Francesco Cocco.
Backed by the Italian medical charity Emergency, which operates in conflict and post-conflict zones around the globe, the images depict the war and its aftermath in Afghanistan. 'Helmets For Men And For Gods' is on show at the Palazzo Garofalo Museum until June 28.