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Historical Analysis of Pewter Spoons Recovered from the Sunken Cit of Port Royal, Jamaica

Cathryn Ann Wadley
Thesis: December 1985
Chair: Hamilton


On June 7, 1692, the Britain merchant city of Port Royal, Jamaica, was struck by a severe earthquake. The earthquake liquified the sand spit on which Port Royal was built, causing approximately three-quarters of the city to sink into the harbor. Houses, shops, markets, and their contents were sealed by a layer of dead coral and silt until the twentieth century when archaeologists began to uncover the sunken city.

This thesis is concerned with the identification of the pewter spoons and spoon fragments recovered from Port Royal. Analysis of the collection has provided information on the type, date, and origin of many of the spoons as well as facts about the inhabitants of Port Royal. This information and data from literature about pewter spoons, has been compiled to formulate a preliminary identification key for identifying and dating pewter spoons from other seventeenth and eighteenth century sites.

Pewter spoon manufacturing, including alloys used, construction of moulds and casting techniques is examined. A catalog of the Port Royal pewter spoon collection, with measurements, photographs, descriptions and parallels to spoons in other collections is provided.

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