Roman key

What does a key look like 2000 years ago?

The oldest keys that researchers have discovered in Israel date back to the 1st century AD. The BIMU shows an iron key that probably belonged to a Roman bath complex. Archaeologists discovered it during excavations on the slopes of Mount Carmel in Israel. With the increasing prosperity of a Roman elite, the key spread throughout the Mediterranean region.

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Those who wish can also try out the functioning of a Roman drop-latch lock in the BIMU and observe the technique.

Symbolic power in the Bible

Besides its practical use, a key has a high symbolic power: What is hidden and locked? Who grants access to it?

The key is an important figurative word in the New Testament. One of the best known is the passage when Jesus says to Peter: “I give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 16). In Luke’s Gospel, Jesus says, “Woe to you - you have the key and have not entered, and you also deny entry to others!” (Luke 24).

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Iron key from a Roman bath

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