Miscellaneous Finds

Locks and Keys

THAT the garrison had locks for their doors, and locks also for their chests and caskets, was evident from the large number of keys that were found in iron, bronze and lead. Illustrative examples are grouped together in Plate LXXVIII. Those made of iron are much corroded, most of them having been found near the surface. The ordinary type (Fig. 4) had resembled the letter T in shape, and was about 7 inches long. Its working was simple. When it was inserted into the keyhole, the tumblers of the lock were forced upwards, so releasing the bolt and allowing the door to open. The bronze keys were more complicated. One found in Block XIII, the Commandant's quarters (Fig. 11), had perhaps been the key of a room. It had a flat handle, probably ending in a ring, and, instead of our modern wards, it had eight projecting studs. The bolt of the lock for which it was used would be perforated by eight holes, into which the tumblers would drop from above, to be held in their places by a spring. The key being inserted pressed them upwards and released the bolt. Two of these lock-bolts are to be seen in Figs. 7 and 8; both are of bronze. One small T-shaped key of bronze (Fig. 5) was so light and fine that it must have belonged to a small casket, such a casket as may be seen on the monument of Regina, the wife of Barates the Palmyrene, found at South Shields. Fig. 12 is an imperfect lock-shield of iron found in the ditch of the early fort. Fig. 14 perhaps belongs to the same category, while Figs. 9 and 10 were probably bolts employed for fixing locks to wood.


Lamps were scarce. It may be that supplies of oil were difficult to procure in Britain, and at Newstead, as at Silchester, tapers may have taken their place. One of the small familiar clay lamps was, however, recovered (Plate LXXIX., Fig. 8), as well as the bottom of another, and a large leaf in earthenware which had probably formed the handle of a third. None of these