According to archaeological evidence, the “Illyrian” type helmet evolved from the Kegelhelm (or Kegel type) of the Archaic Period found in Argos. The earliest “Illyrian” type helmets were developed in a workshop located in the northwestern Peloponnese (possibly Olympia), although the first Type II “Illyrian” helmets were created in Corinthian workshops. The first Type III helmets were created in workshops situated somewhere on the Illyrian coast of the Adriatic. The “Illyrian” type helmet did not obstruct the wearer’s critical senses of vision though the first two varieties hampered hearing.
There were four types of these helmets and all were open faced: Type I (c. 700–640 BC) left the neck unprotected and hampered hearing. Type II (c. 600 BC) offered neck protection and again hampered hearing. Type III (c. 550 BC) offered neck protection and allowed better hearing. Type IV (c. 500 BC) was similar to Type III but hearing was not impaired at all.
The Illyrian type helmet was used by the ancient Greeks, Etruscans, Scythians, and became popular with the Illyrians who later adopted it. A variety of the helmet had also spread to Italy based on its appearance on ivory reliefs and on a silver bowl at the “Bernardini” tomb at Praeneste. The helmet became obsolete in most parts of Greece in the early 5th century BC. These helmets were a privilege limited to the minority of warriors who could afford or obtain them. Its use in Illyria had ended by the 4th century BC.