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from Newstead, Roxburghshire

Postcard of Key.
© National Museums Scotland


This bronze key was found during excavations at the site of the Roman fort at Newstead in Roxburghshire. It is very light, and was probably used with a lock mechanism on a small casket, sometime between 80 and 180 AD. This picture shows the back of the key.

The key is a type sometimes termed a lift-key. It has a hollow groove running along its length.

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 or L-shaped, as this example.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-190-002-074-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 1090
Date: Between 80 and 180 AD
Material: Bronze
Who: Newstead Collection
Where: Scotland, Roxburghshire, Melrose, Newstead
Description: Bronze key from Newstead
  • Curle, J. A Roman frontier post and its people: the fort of Newstead. Glasgow: MacLehose, 1911, p 306, Pl. LXXVIII, 5. 
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