London: It`s well documented history that the British defended their land during the Roman Conquest.
But the discovery of a 2,000-year-old Roman helmet beneath a Leicestershire hillside suggests that rather than repelling the invaders, some Britons even fought in the Roman ranks.
The ornate helmet was awarded to high-ranking cavalry officers and was found at the burial site of a British tribal leader, `The Daily Telegraph` reported.
According to experts, it transforms the understanding of the Roman Conquest.
"How did it get there? The simple answer is that it was worn on the head of a Briton," said Dr JD Hill, head of research at the British Museum.
He added: "The old view is `Romans bad, Britons good`. This discovery muddies the waters. You can`t overestimate the shock and surprise when it was first found. This is a major discovery that says we have to rethink the relationship between the Britons and the Romans. It is an iconic object and every book on Roman history from now on will have this in it."
The treasure, known as the Hallaton Helmet after the area where it was found, dates to around the time of the Roman invasion in AD43. A Roman goddess flanked by lions adorns the brow, while the cheek pieces feature a Roman emperor trampling a barbarian beneath his horse`s hooves.
The helmet was unveiled at the British Museum but the identity of the Briton commemorated at the burial site is unknown.