Finds Recording Guides

Started by gash, July 27, 2019, 11:48:52 pm

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This guide is to keys for locking and unlocking locks and padlocks. Locks and keys are symbolic of personal property, control and exclusion, so they are interesting items to record and study.

Most of the keys recorded on the PAS database are made from copper alloy, but most excavated keys (and probably most keys in use in the past) are made from iron. Keys of the two materials seem to be surprisingly different, and we should not assume that what holds for iron keys is also true for copper alloy keys.

The best source for Roman keys covers only the iron examples (Manning 1985) but also mentions a few copper-alloy examples in passing.

The best source for early-medieval copper-alloy keys is Megan Ackermann's PhD at the University of York, which will shortly be available on Ethos. There is also an excellent short section on early-medieval iron keys in the Flixborough report (Ottaway in Evans and Loveluck 2009, 187-195).

The best sources for early-medieval and medieval keys are Goodall in Biddle 1990, Ward Perkins 1940, and Egan 1998. There are no particularly good sources for post-medieval keys.

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