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from Newstead, Roxburghshire

Postcard of Key.
© National Museums Scotland


This iron key 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 key is a type sometimes termed a lift-key. It worked with a simple tumbler lock, where the key passed through the keyhole and was moved until the teeth fitted into the holes, lifting the tumblers clear of the bolt.

Keys of various forms are found on Roman sites in Britain. The form of tumbler lock for which this key was used is also known from some native sites. The keys are generally T-shaped, as this example, or L-shaped.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-100-037-268-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0098: National Museums Scotland
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  X.FRA 1083 A
Date: Between 80 and 180 AD
Material: Iron; T-shaped lifter
Dimensions: 4.38" L
Who: Newstead Collection
Where: Scotland, Roxburghshire, Melrose, Newstead
Description: Iron key with T-shaped lifter, from Newstead
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