The pitfalls of studying material outcomes of cultural contact as ‘hybrids’ have been well mapped, from essentialism to the echoes of eugenics. In archaeological research, attention to ‘hybrid’ products of cultural contact through assiduous tracing of ‘foreign’ elements to their points of origin has often yielded dubious claims regarding the nature of the interaction. For objects excavated in the Period IVb (1050–800 bc) level at Hasanlu, this approach has led to assertions of ‘Assyrianization’, proclaiming the site the example par excellence of the response to Assyrian cultural hegemony in the periphery. Through exploration of armoured sheet-metal belts found at Hasanlu, an artefact type introduced from the South Caucasus region and then produced locally, this paper considers the interpretive utility of the concept of ‘hybridization’—the transformative processes by which disparate visual elements, materials and ideas about the world react to and perturb each in a particular environment. We argue that through these processes, relocated exogenous objects and their endogenous counterparts communicate using multiple, even divergent, voices. This very multivocality, or heteroglossia, is instrumental in forging new social relationships and meanings.