Preliminary study of two antique Illyrian helmets (V-IV B.C.) excavated in northwest and northeast of Albania


  • Olta Çakaj Department of Physics, Faculty of Natural Sciences, University of Tirana, Albania
  • Nikolla Civici Metropolitan University Tirana, Albania.
  • Gert Schmidt Institut für Keramik, Glass- und Baustofftechnik, TU Bergakademie Freiberg, Germany



Illyrian helmet; Albania; copper-tin alloy; microstructure; production technique; copper mineral.


This study combines several analytical techniques to preliminary investigate two Illyrian helmets (V-IV century B.C.) excavated in Nënshat (Shkodra, northwest Albania) and in Krumë (Has, northeast Albania). They were stored in the Center of Albanian Studies, after excavation in 1963 in damaged conditions but have never been studied until now. The aims of this paper are the investigation of the helmets’ alloy and production technique; hence SEM-EDS, OM and Vickers microhardness tester were used to study the elements content, microstructure inclusions and its characteristics due to the production process. The Illyrian helmets alloy resulted Cu-Sn with less than 1% of Fe and As. The microstructure was composed by straight and bended twins, with 160.5 and 169.6 mean Vickers microhardness values, suggesting that these objects’ alloys were casted, annealed and cold worked to obtain the final distinctive shape. Elements such as S, Si, Fe can originate from the copper mineral used for the alloy production. This paper is part of a campaign in Albania to better understand the past with the use of physical analytical techniques.


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How to Cite

Çakaj, Olta, Nikolla Civici, and Gert Schmidt. 2023. “Preliminary Study of Two Antique Illyrian Helmets (V-IV B.C.) Excavated in Northwest and Northeast of Albania”. Metallurgical and Materials Engineering 29 (1):1-15.