Raine Borg is the Keymaster


Raine Borg has an amazing web site about locks and keys through history. And it so happens that he’s made reconstruction drawings of how keys identical to the one me and Per Vikstrand found in Torstuna recently were used. It’s not a padlock key: it’s most likely for a lock mounted permanently inside the lid of a chest or a door.


Lena Thunmark-Nylén’s Die Wikingerzeit Gotlands informs me that the key type dates from the 11th and 12th centuries. Thus, alas, a bit too late to tell us much about pagan activities in the Field of Thor.

Thanks to Raine for permission to reproduce his drawings and to Tobias B. for tipping me off.

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  1. #1 Michael
    April 30, 2008

    I don’t quite get it: the key is supposed to pull back the bit of (bifurcated?) spring steel so that it’s possible to slide the bolt out? But the slot that the key fits into doesn’t seem to the key to go anywhere near the spring…

  2. #2 Ian
    April 30, 2008

    Nonsense! It’s a kind of heretical Ankh. Turn it so the loop is on top and hang it vertically and it’s a representation of the head and torso of a bodybuilder flexing her arms. Clearly it was an amulet owned by someone who was devoted to the goddess of tough love.

    (if you believe this I got a bridge in Brooklyn I’m trying to unload real cheap…).

  3. #3 Martin R
    April 30, 2008

    Michael, the keyhole is actually T-shaped, though the central pillar of the T is obscured by the bolt-and-spring.

  4. #4 Bärbel Mahr
    June 24, 2010

    Hallo Raine,
    ich hoffe du bist der Raine aus Jönköping/Taberg.
    vielleicht erinnerst du dich an Bärbelchen aus Deutschland.
    Wie geht es dir?
    Melde dich doch mal wenn du Zeit und Lust hast.
    Viele liebe grüße aus Friedberg

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