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Sean Kingsley, Ellen Gerth, and Michael Highes
Ceramics from the Tortugas Shipwreck: A Spanish-Operated Navio of the 1622 Tierra Firme Fleet

Ceramics in America 2012

Full Article
Contents
  • Figure 1
    Figure 1

    Location of the Tortugas shipwreck off the Dry Tortugas islands, Florida Keys. (Unless otherwise noted, all photos © Odyssey Marine Exploration.)

  • Figure 2
    Figure 2

    The research vessel Seahawk Retriever in port before sailing to the Tortugas shipwreck. (Photo, John Astley.)

  • Figure 3
    Figure 3

    The remotely operated vehicle (ROV) Merlin, the eyes and hands of the archaeologist on the deep-sea Tortugas wreck excavation, docked on the deck of the Seahawk Retriever. (Photo, John Astley.)

  • Figure 4
    Figure 4

    Recovered artifacts from the Tortugas shipwreck on the deck of the Seahawk Retriever. (Photo, John Astley.)

  • Figure 5
    Figure 5

    Large Type 1 and small Type 2 olive jars (botijas) from the Tortugas shipwreck. Large Type 1: H. 17 1/8­–22 1/4"; small Type 2: H. 10 5/8–13 3/8".

  • Figure 6
    Figure 6

    Olive jars and a San Juan Polychrome juglet in situ on the wreck.

  • Figure 7
    Figure 7

    A Type 1 olive jar being recovered using a limpet suction device. 

  • Figure 8
    Figure 8

    A Type 2 olive jar being recovered using a limpet suction device.

  • Figure 9
    Figure 9

    A Type 3 olive jar in situ.

  • Figure 10
    Figure 10

    Olive jar sherds alongside a half-dipped juglet in situ. 

  • Figure 11
    Figure 11

    Map showing the distribution of olive jars at the 400 meter-deep Tortugas shipwreck.

  • Figure 12
    Figure 12

    Tortugas Type 1 olive jar, possibly Córdoba, Spain, ca. 1622. Unglazed earthenware. H. 21 1/16". 

  • Figure 13
    Figure 13

    Tortugas Type 2 olive jar, Seville, Spain, ca. 1622. Unglazed earthenware. H. 12 3/16". 

  • Figure 14
    Figure 14

    Tortugas Type 4 olive jar, Seville, Spain, ca. 1622. Unglazed earthenware. H. 16 11/16".

  • Figure 15
    Figure 15

    Tortugas olive jar rims: (left) Type 1; (right) Type 2. (As illustrated in George Avery, “Pots as Packaging: The Spanish Olive Jar and Andalusian Transatlantic Commercial Activity, 16th–18th Centuries,” Ph.D. diss., University of Florida, 1997, p. 115.) 

  • Figure 16
    Figure 16

    Sample sgraffito maker’s marks incised onto Tortugas olive jar rims.

  • Figure 17
    Figure 17

    Plate and dish fragments, Blue-on-Blue Seville maiolica, Seville, Spain, ca. 1622. Tin-glazed earthenware. 

  • Figure 18
    Figure 18

    Dish fragments, Blue-on-White Talavera–style maiolica, Seville, Spain, ca. 1622. Tin-glazed earthenware. D. of largest fragment (center) 7 13/16". 

  • Figure 19
    Figure 19

    Dishes, Columbia Plain maiolica, Rio Guardiamar, Andalusia, Spain, ca. 1622. Tin-glazed earthenware. D. of largest dish 7 13/16". 

  • Figure 20
    Figure 20

    Tin-glazed vessels recovered from the Tortugas shipwreck, ca. 1622. (Top row) Juglets, Andalusia Polychrome maiolica, Andalusia region, Spain. H. of largest juglet (top right) 3 13/16", D. 3 7/8". ­(Bottom row) Bowls, Seville, Spain. H. of Seville white ware dish (bottom left) 2 5/16", D. 5 5/8".

  • Figure 21
    Figure 21

    (Top row) Linear Blue Morisco ware jugs, ca. 1622. Tin-enameled earthenware. (Bottom row, left to right) Mottled Blue Morisco ware cup from the “high magnesium” subgroup; Blue-on-White Seville ware bowl; and juglet from the “high magnesium” subgroup.

  • Figure 22
    Figure 22

    Red earthenware vessels recovered from the Tortugas shipwreck, ca. 1622. Left to right: Half-dipped green glaze juglet from the high magnesium subgroup; one-handle Portuguese redware jug; a green-glazed coarse redware jug; and a coarse ware glazed juglet. H. of one-handled Portuguese jug (second from left) 11 7/16". 

  • Figure 23
    Figure 23

    Fragments of colonoware cooking vessels, Southern Atlantic/­Circum-Caribbean, ca. 1622. Low-fired earthenware.