In 1942, a worker cutting peat in a bog in Viksø, Denmark discovered two horned helmets that, archaeologists only now have determined, were forged in Sardinia during the Bronze Age. That means those iconic brain buckets were warn by warriors more than 2,000 years before the Vikings made the scene. From LiveScience:
"For many years in popular culture, people associated the Viksø helmets with the Vikings," said Helle Vandkilde, an archaeologist at Aarhus University in Denmark. "But actually, it's nonsense. The horned theme is from the Bronze Age and is traceable back to the ancient Near East." […]
The new research by Vandkilde and her colleagues confirms that the helmets were deposited in the bog in about 900 B.C. — almost 3,000 years ago and many centuries before the Vikings or Norse dominated the region[…]
As well as their prominent horns, the Viksø helmets are adorned with symbols meant to look like the eyes and beak of a bird of prey; plumage that has since eroded was likely stuck into the ends of the horns with birch tar, and each helmet also may have had a mane of horsehair.
There is no sign that the Viksø helmets were ever used for war, which was usually carried out in Bronze Age Scandinavia with only rudimentary helmets or no helmets at all. "They were never used for battle," Vandkilde said.
image: National Museum of Denmark