Portuguese Pewter Ware
In Portugal pewter workshops prospered at least since the 16th century, but the
very rare use of pewterer marks make it very difficult to study, and it is therefore still mostly unknown.
Pewter was widely used aboard ships for its resistance both to corrosion and impact,
not breaking as frequently as most pottery did.
Archaeological finds are rare. In the 1970s an assemblage has been found at the
mouth of the Arade river, in the south of Portugal, and was said to bear late 17th century English pewterer marks.
It was dug up from the margin of the river by a bulldozer, together with rotten
timbers, and bought by a private collector.
Two pewter plates have been found in Baleal, in the 1980s, on a 16th century wreck
site at very shallow depths.
Another collection was recovered by an avocational archaeologist on the site of
a late 17th century wreck, presumed to be the Grande Principessa di Toscanna, wrecked on the coast a few miles north of the village of Cascais, on December 1696. This
flatware also bears pewterer's marks but has not yet been studied.
A stack of pewter plates was also found in the Faro A shipwreck, found in the
late 1990s by sport divers off the south coast of Portugal.