Keys and lock

Would one of them be the chapel of Saint Euphemia?

Keys and lock

This key was uncovered in the recent archaeological excavations at the castle site. Could have it been the key that opened the door to the chapel of Saint Euphemia? Or would it have been the key that gave access to a noble chamber within the keep? Whatever the answer, this object tells us of a modern notion of the use of domestic spaces.

The aristocratic elite in the late Middle Ages lived in buildings where access was strictly controlled. Unlike the communal, multifunctional space that defined the homes of other social classes like the peasantry, fortresses like this show the relevance of notions like privacy or the differentiated use of rooms. It is important not to forget that the castle responds to a concentric architectural model, with three walled enclosures which go from the outermost one (the more public space) to the inner one (the more private space). On the other hand, the fortress was an enclosure where violence, both physical and symbolic was exerted. Documents mention that persons were kidnapped for ransom by the soldiers of Rocha Forte. This means that this key could have belonged to the dungeons of the fortress. The excavation also revealed locks and rings of a variety of sizes.

Many a secret hides this key and, like the castle itself, which was in turn the key to controlling the city of Santiago de Compostela.

  • © Museo das Peregrinacións de Santiago.

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