HAMP-799738: Late early-medieval/ medieval slide key

Rights Holder: Hampshire Cultural Trust
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Unique ID: HAMP-799738

Object type certainty: Certain
Workflow status: Awaiting validation Find awaiting validation

A copper alloy slide key for a slide lock of probably late early-medieval to medieval date (900-1300). It is bent horizontally at the centre and comprises a shaft c.13mm long of rectangular cross-section, with an oval projection at one end a larger rectangular projection at the other. The shaft measures 3.1x1.8mm where the 4.9mm wide oval projection extends, presumably the terminal or handle from which it hung; this has a 2.9mm diameter piercing within it and transverse mouldings on the outside edge. The larger rectangular projection at the other end of the shaft (which measure 4.2x2.1mm just before it) is the 'slide' end of the key. This is openwork and T-shaped, measuring 13.1mm wide and 13.5mm long. The stem of the T is short and squat. To the inside edge of the horizontal, opposite the shaft, are two short vertical projections one of which is shorter than the other and presumably damaged. Beyond the stem of the T is another smaller solid T with a curved top edge (the horizontal bar).
The object measures 38.7mm in length, 13.1mm in max.width, 2.1mm in max.thickness and weighs 1.99g. The patina is lightly pitted and mid-green in colour.
There is much discussion on these type of slide keys, known popularly as 'Viking' keys, though only similar to known Viking keys (from dated contexts) in their shape. Kevin Leahy comments "they do look something like the keys that come from Viking graves and from Viking sites but I have never seen an example that had the 'T' shaped extension for the end of the bit and I can't actually see how this would have functioned in a slide lock". An iron example was found at Coppergate in York, in a 12th to 13th century context (Ottaway and Rogers 2002; 2876, 3061). A date range c.900-1300 is therefore suggested, although it should be noted that this date range may be prone to adjustment through the recovery of further examples from datable contexts.

Subsequent actions

Subsequent action after recording: Returned to finder


Broad period: MEDIEVAL
Subperiod from: Late
Period to: MEDIEVAL
Date from: Circa AD 900
Date to: Circa AD 1300

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 1
Length: 38.7 mm
Width: 13.1 mm
Thickness: 2.1 mm
Weight: 1.99 g

Personal details

Found by: This information is restricted for your login.
Recorded by: Ms Katie Hinds
Identified by: Ms Katie Hinds

Other reference numbers

Other reference: Hampshire Cultural Trust Object Entry Form WINCM 693

Materials and construction

Primary material: Copper alloy
Completeness: Complete

Spatial metadata

Region: South East (European Region)
County or Unitary authority: Hampshire (County)
District: Hart (District)
Parish or ward: South Warnborough (Civil Parish)

Spatial coordinates

4 Figure: SU7145
Four figure Latitude: 51.19981307
Four figure longitude: -0.98519456
1:25K map: SU7145
1:10K map: SU74NW
Grid reference source: From finder
Unmasked grid reference accurate to a 10 metre square.

Discovery metadata

Method of discovery: Metal detector
General landuse: Cultivated land

References cited

No references cited so far.

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Timeline of associated dates

Audit data

Recording Institution: HAMP
Created: 4 months ago
Updated: 4 months ago

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