SOM-8F3994: Roman key (locking) - ring-key

Rights Holder: Somerset County Council
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Unique ID: SOM-8F3994

Object type certainty: Certain
Workflow status: Published Find published

A copper-alloy finger-ring with integral key dating to the earlier Roman period. The hoop is broadly circular and D-shaped in cross-section, being flat internally (int. dia.: 17.2mm max.). There are no shoulders as such and the bezel is only slightly thicker than the hoop. As with such artefacts the bit protrudes at right angles to the bezel such that the key element lay flat on the finger. The bit begins with a trapezoidal base that is decorated with a pair of transverse grooves. Above this is a recess each side to a narrow waist before the main sub-triangular upper element. The triangle terminates in a lobed trefoil. It features a central inverted T shape openwork perforation. The bezel has been bent inwards slightly following old damage. The metal has a red/brown colour with some areas of light-green corrosion product. Crummy (1983, 84) suggests that ring-keys with flat bezels may date to the early Roman period, and we succeeded by rotary keys.


Ring-keys generally belonged to small boxes or caskets of personal possessions rather than doors or cupboards (Crummy 1983, 84).

Class: ring-key
Sub class: 5b

Subsequent actions

Subsequent action after recording: Returned to finder


Broad period: ROMAN
Period from: ROMAN
Period to: ROMAN
Date from: Circa AD 50
Date to: Circa AD 250

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 1
Length: 20.6 mm
Height: 17.6 mm
Width: 19.7 mm
Thickness: 1.8 mm
Weight: 2.86 g

Personal details

Found by: This information is restricted for your login.
Recorded by: Mr Robert Webley
Identified by: Mr Robert Webley

Other reference numbers

Other reference: SCC receipt 21984

Materials and construction

Primary material: Copper alloy
Completeness: Complete

Spatial metadata

Region: South West (European Region)
County or Unitary authority: Somerset (County)
District: South Somerset (District)
To be known as: Misterton CP

Spatial coordinates

Grid reference source: From a paper map
Unmasked grid reference accurate to a 100 metre square.

Discovery metadata

Method of discovery: Metal detector
General landuse: Cultivated land

References cited

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Timeline of associated dates

Audit data

Recording Institution: SOM
Created: 5 years ago
Updated: 3 years ago

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