This paper explores the use of images of archaeological objects as a conduit for members of a social group to establish a connection with the past, shape new realities of identity, and express a sense of belonging. With a focus on Igbo Ukwu, a renowned archaeological community in southeastern Nigeria, this paper follows the discourse on images as realistic claims to truth situated within heritage studies. Specifically, we conceptualize archaeological objects as a materiality of belonging, examining how their affect among community members extends beyond the tangible objects to include images of the objects reproduced across different media. By examining the elevation of images of archaeological objects to index cultural affiliation between the past and the present, we highlight the emergence and (re)production of corporate notions of belonging in Igbo Ukwu community. This paper contributes to discourse on a holistic approach to the use of archaeological objects in the (re)construction of identities and ideologies. We argue that by tracing the history of representation and the role that images play in it, we are able to isolate and reconstruct the process through which new, or reimagined, realities emerge.

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