Along with the resumption of the sifting we decided also to revive our Find of the Month posts, fondly remembered from our years of sifting at the Tzurim Valley. This month we are excited to announce the discovery of a fragment of an ancient key by Pastor Joe Putting, the spiritual leader of the Tokoma Christian Church of Ormund Beach, Florida. This fragment would have been the bit of the key, clearly made from iron, and worked using ancient techniques. The bit was often attached to an ornate, decorative handle, sometimes made of other materials such as wood or bone. We reached out to Tommas Pace, Project Director of Afendras Archaeology and specialist in ancient keys who is also studying the Sifting Project’s key collection, who had the following to say: “It is very likely to be the bit of a key and was likely used as a latch-lifter, based on the shape of it. The latch-lifter is fairly simple type of key used for simple locks in which the only barrier was a latch or deadbolt in the door that needed to be removed to unlock the door. The shape and angle of this object, if it is indeed a key bit, would have been inserted through the keyway and maneuvered by hand to find the latch and lift it out of a locked position.“
While this object is still shrouded in mystery, one can imagine it opening any type of ancient treasure, from a Second Temple Treasury box, to the personal affects of a Byzantine monk! We’re grateful to have had Pastor Joe visiting our site, and excited to research and develop more thoughts on the new ancient key bit which has joined our collection!