Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
How Ancient Europeans Saw the WorldVision, Patterns, and the Shaping of the Mind in Prehistoric Times$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Peter S. Wells

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780691143385

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691143385.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM PRINCETON SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.princeton.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Princeton University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in PRSO for personal use.date: 06 July 2022

Attraction and Enchantment

Attraction and Enchantment


(p.99) Chapter 6 Attraction and Enchantment
How Ancient Europeans Saw the World

Peter S. Wells

Princeton University Press

This chapter is devoted to fibulae, which are clothing pins that operated on the same principle as the modern safety pin. The style of fibulae changed relatively rapidly throughout the Bronze and Iron Ages, and they have long been used as the principal chronological indicator for a given grave or settlement. Of all of the common objects preserved from late prehistoric Europe, fibulae are the most attractive, in the sense that even today people are drawn to them, finding them intriguing to look at. The reason that they are so appealing is that they embody a number of the visually commanding features outlined in Chapter 2. In their shapes, they are unlike anything in nature and thus immediately seize our attention. In addition, fibulae had a unique property among material culture items of late prehistoric Europe. In order to operate a fibula—to attach it to a garment—the user had to apply considerable force with the thumb and forefinger to the pin in order to lift the end out of the catch. Then, after sliding the pin through a textile garment or removing it from one, he or she released the pin to sit in the catch again. No other objects required this kind of bodily manipulation in order to serve their intended purposes.

Keywords:   fibulae, artifacts, late prehistoric Europe, Bronze Age, Iron Age, safety pins, clothing pins

Princeton Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.