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The Analysis of the Conde de Tolosa and the Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe Olive Jar Assemblage

Stephen James
Thesis: May 1985
Chair: Hamilton
Nautical Archaeology Program

Bound for New Spain in 1724 the Conde de Tolosa and the Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe sank on the northeast coast of the Dominican Republic during a hurricane. Recent salvage of the two wrecks was undertaken by Caribe Salvage S.A. Among the items recovered were over 600 complete olive jars. Employed as a main type of shipping container by the Spanish during their exploration and colonization of the Americas the olive jar, with its various farms, has been shown by recent studies to be a temporal indicator.

Housed at the Museo de las Casa Reales in Santo Domingo the jars of the Tolosa and Guadalupe represent the largest intact olive jar assemblage recovered in the New World. Analysis of these containers imparts a wealth of informaton critical to the understanding of this widely used and diffused ceramic type. Besides revealing a previously unreported form the study suggests needed changes in both the chronological and typological framework of the olive jar and answers previous hypothesis pertaining to intended sizes and capacities, contents, and rim attributes and glazing frequencies employed as temporal indicators.

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