Bone key

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From Stenabreak, North Ronaldsay, Orkney

Postcard of Bone key.
© National Museums Scotland

Bone key

This bone key was found at Stenabreak on North Ronaldsay in Orkney. It was used sometime between 850 and 1100.

The key is for a tumbler lock. Tumbler locks had a number of holes on the bolt. The slide key had matching projections, and was used to push the tumblers out of the bolt securing the door.

Builders of Viking period houses had lock and key mechanisms fitted to doors and chests. Most of the surviving examples are of metal, but occasionally, as here, evidence survives that other materials were used.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-100-040-701-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0098: National Museums Scotland
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  X.HD 143
Date: Between 850 and 1100
Material: Bone
What: Key
Where: Scotland, Orkney, North Ronaldsay, Stenabreck
Description: Bone key of a tumbler lock from Stenabreck, North Ronaldsay
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