The object of my affection: Attachment security and material culture

Taryn Bell, Penny Spikins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Archaeological research into how objects affect us emotionally is still in its infancy, with our affiliative responses to objects - those related to socially close and harmonious relationships - being particularly understudied. Psychological research has however revealed that objects can have powerful effects on emotional wellbeing, acting as attachment figures which provide a sense of comfort and security in the absence of loved ones, and promoting the confidence to explore and develop positive relationships. Here we discuss the phenomenon of these attachment objects, drawing on recent survey research, and apply this concept to new interpretations of two particularly meaningful prehistoric artefacts - the Stonehenge pig ‘toy’ and the Hohle Fels ‘Venus’. We conclude that a better understanding of attachment objects will provide considerable insight into the emotional significance of particular cherished artefacts throughout time.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-39
Number of pages17
JournalTime and Mind
Issue number1
Early online date2 Mar 2018
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2 Mar 2018

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© 2018 The Author(s).

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