ONION RING GLASS BOTTLES
Onion shaped wine bottles are the oldest type of glass bottles found in Port Royal.
Tortoise shells and their contents date from the late seventeenth century and have been associated with Sir Henry Morgan. This is mainly due to the fact that they possess what has been identified as the armorial bearings of the Morgan family. They were used to make an array of items from combs and comb cases to jewellery boxes and trinket boxes.
BLANC DE CHINE (WHITE CHINA) CUP AND BLANC DE CHINE PRUNUS BLOSSOM CUP
Dehua porcelain or Blanc de Chine was pure ivory-white porcelain made in the Dehua kilns of the Southern Chinese province of Fujian. This type of ware had the greatest variation in colour and glaze. The colours ranged from pure white to ivory and cream and the glazes ranged from a hint of blue to a hint of pink. They were usually decorated with characteristic ally delicate Chinese art. The Prunus blossom is used to decorate much of 17th and 18th century ceramic pieces. In the cold winter air, the plum blossom (prunus) grows from seemingly dead branches. The five petal blossoms represent new life at the end of winter. Porcelain in Port Royal was used for mainly for the consumption of wines.
WHITE CLAY PIPES AND RED CLAY PIPES
Tobacco became very fashionable in Europe during the 17th century, and the growing demand fuelled a tobacco – growing economy the Caribbean and North America and the manufacture of white clay pipes in England. The discovery of white clay pipes in Port Royal reflects the level of trade between England and Port Royal at the time. Between 1682 and 1695, shipments of white clay pipes to Jamaica totalled more than all the American colonies combined.
WINE GLASS STEMS
Tableware is an article of service, fashion and taste. As such, its presence on archaeological sites in Port Royal Jamaica provides a significant contribution to the historical reconstruction of an important English colony in the Caribbean.
The volume of fine quality drinking glasses, found in Port Royal, implied that comfortable domestic and social life existed among a large, and relatively prosperous cosmopolitan society, during the late- seventeenth century. In contrast, the few examples of drinking glasses that survived from a later period of Port Royal’s history circa 1715-1751, mirrored the vicissitudes of the town during the eighteenth century and revealed the increasingly- meager lifestyle of the inhabitants.
Bartering was the main system of exchange practised by English colonies in the 17th and 18th centuries however, in Jamaica, access to silver and gold, quickly fostered cash based exchange system. As the bullion centre of England’s New World possessions, large supplies of Spanish coinage (also called cobs) flowed through Port Royal on its way to England. Many of the coins in circulation were produced in Bolivia, Peru and Mexico and had varying denominations, most commonly between 8 REALE, 4 REALE and 1 REALE. Spanish money in Jamaica valuations based on the weight and alloy were ascertained for each denomination centred on pieces of eight. Cobs (as they were known when the edges were filed or snipped) had common features, the assayers initial, denomination and the letters PLVS VLTRA meaning ‘more beyond’ and the year of manufacture.
Pewter was the material of choice for domestic utensils in 17th century England and her early colonies. Sadware (flatware), such as plates were made from a single cast and hammered to form the rim, well and bouge – the curved section between the rim and well. Spoon-making was quite a simple process compared to other pewter products and was often left to blind and elderly crafters. Several forms of spoons developed, moving from a shallow broad-bowl with a rounded stem to an egg-shaped bowl with flattened often-decorative stems. These underwent modifications, evolving through Slip, Puritan and Early Round-End knops to the Trifid by the 1700. The most noted pewterer in Jamaica was Simon Benning, who began working in Jamaica in the 1660s. He adapted the pineapple along with his initials ‘S. B.’ as his makers mark.
Glassmaking in the British Isles may have taken place during Roman times. It was certainly established in the weald of Kent by the 14th century, initiated by continental European glassmakers who brought with them a store of useful knowledge, ideas, and designs. Amongst this variety was the common small vial used for medicinal and other utilitarian purposes. These early vials and small bottles are extremely rare and known mainly through fragmented remains.