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Latchlifter

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from Newstead, Roxburghshire

Latchlifter
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This iron latchlifter was found during excavations at the site of the Roman fort at Newstead in Roxburghshire. It was used sometime between 80 and 180 AD.

The latchlifter is the simplest form of key, found on native and Roman sites in Britain. Most of them, as here, have a flat handle with an eye at the end, and a slightly curved stem upturned at the tip.

Latchlifters worked in one of two ways. Some were designed to be fed through a hole in the door, so that the tip lifted or slid the bolt. Others worked by lifting a simple tumbler which held the bold firm, and the bolt was then moved by pulling a cord.

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