Seller: wear-the-past (1,917) 100%, Location: Salisbury, Ships to: Worldwide, Item: 371786064264 This is a rare ancient Roman silver finger ring shaped as a key, dating to the 3rd - 4th century A.D. Key rings in bronze and iron are well known in archaeological inhumation contexts, usually owned by females. Much speculation as to there original function, though undoubtedly used to unlock small chests or jewellery boxes. Keys are symbolic of authority, to own a key would indicate you owned something worth protecting. In later Roman and Anglo Saxon period, iron keys were worn by the Germanic ladies as a symbol of their married status (as head of the household). Thus it is likely these key rings functioned in a similar way, as a statement of marriage, position and authority over the household. Most examples in base metals are fairly common on occupation sites, however silver and gold are far scarcer. Clearly the gold key rings could not have acted as a functional item (but as a statement of position), silver key rings could act as functional items, possibly engaging a silver locking mechanism. This example has well cut horizontal wards, this would have engaged a locking mechanism in a small chest or box. The original owner must have been a married lady of substance, having objects, money and jewellery worthy of protection. Today this ring has survived in excellent condition, with earthy deposits from excavation. Today it can still be worn and would make a bold statement on the finger!OBJECT: Finger Key RingCULTURE: RomanDATE: c. 3rd - 4th century A.D.MATERIAL: SilverRING SIZE: 8 1/4 (US) Q 1/2 (UK)SIZE: 27.72mm x 22.45mm x 2.78mm (ward 6.21mm x 15.26mm x 3.04mm)WEIGHT: 5.3 gramsThis item is guaranteed authentic and dates to the period described. A written guarantee can be provided on request. We accept returns if you are not satisfied with your purchase.I am a fully qualified Archaeologist and small finds specialist. All items can be viewed in person on request at Grays, Mayfair in London. Please see my website for details. Condition: good excavated condition, see description, Type: Ring, Material: Silver, Colour: Silver, Culture: Roman, Date: c. 3rd - 4th century A.D.