Thursday, March 31, 2011

3/31/11 Report - Olive Jar Info & Links

Photo This Morning.

This morning it looked like a few crates were loaded from the platform boat to the smaller boat and at least two people boarded the platform from the small boat.

Those crates moved to the barge the other day looked heavy.

A few days ago I showed a picture of an olive jar that was recently brought up from the Atocha. That reminded me of the guy that found what he thinks might be ceramic olive jar stoppers. I've not been able to find any evidence that there were ceramic olive jar stoppers, and asked if anyone else knew of them. Kevin B. wrote in and gave some very good links to information on shipwreck ceramics.

One link Kevin provided was to a book that could be previewed in part through google books. The book is Pottery from Spanish Shipwrecks, 1500-1800, by Mitchell W. Marken.

Here is the link.

It seems that the olive jars that they have studied had cork stoppers, some of which have been found in place, and others found inside the jar, either whole or broken. When the jars sunk, the water pressure pushed the corks into the jars.

You can find some of this same information along with some nice illustrations by using the following link.

Talking of olive jars, one excerpt reads, The general shape of the mouth, a sloping “V”, indicates manufacture specifically for insertion of a cork. The 12 rims with corks still in place and neck/rim sherds support this hypothesis.

And here is a link to more information on olive jars from an Odyssey Marine web site.

One more excerpt. Olive jars typically carried a diversity of goods, much more varied than the name implies. Remnants of hazelnuts, olive pits and almonds were discovered in some of the vessels, and a chalky red stain on the interior of a few of the ceramic shards also suggests the jars may have contained a red ochre pigment or cochineal, a traditional red dye of pre-Hispanic Mexico. Next to gold and silver, cochineal became the most desired commodity imported from Middle America, and Spain established a monopoly in its trade. It is also likely the olive jars stored water and wine—a necessity for long sea voyages.

The cork seals imploded into the jars during the nearly 1,500-foot descent to the seabed...

There were also ceramic jars or containers other than those that are most correctly referred to as olive jars.

Anyhow, I think that provides some good information on olive jars. You can find a lot more if you want to browse the book.

Thanks Kevin!

In case you didn't know, you can sometimes find olive jar or other shipwreck ceramic sherds in the shell piles along the Treasure Coast.

Silver prices are doing well. Silver is now above $37.50 per ounce. Not bad.

Kovels Komments says, Silver has new status and name designers are using it with precious stones to create innovative designs. Silver jewelry is a better color than gold when worn with the neon colors being shown for spring. Pre-owned jewelry is considered chic now, so look for vintage silver jewelry to be higher-priced. Or could the sudden interest in new silver jewelry be the result of the high price of gold?

If you have been keeping some of those silver jewelry finds, it might be a good time to convert them to cash. I've seen some listings promoting oxidized silver. Cool!

If you dig (in more ways than one) old bottles, maybe you've found one with a glass stopper stuck in it. I have. One Kovels Komments reader said, My leaded glass decanter sat in my china cabinet for years. The glass stopper was stuck. I sprayed it with Liquid Wrench, waited a few days, no luck. Sprayed it again, waited a few more days, it opened!!

Good tip. I'll have to try it.

Something happened to the early votes that were already counted on the blog's survey. I know there were about nine that got somehow deleted today. Things don't seem to be acting quite right today.

I can't get the spell-checker to work either. Oh well. Who needs it?

Forecast and Conditions.

The wind is out of the southwest and the seas are calm. Most beaches on the Treasure Coast are building. There were, however, a few small cuts. The photo below shows one that I found this morning that was about a foot high at the most.

Photo of Small Cut This Morning.

The hole in front of the cut yielded only a deeply buried zinc penny.

It seemed that the water was more salty than normal. That happens sometimes. It can cause more false signals than normal in the wet sand areas when sweeping across previous water lines.

One way to diminish that is to sweep your coil north to south parallel to the water line instead of across the water line.

Conditions really haven't changed much for a while and the prediction is for continued calm seas. That means that beach conditions will not be changing significanty for the next few days.

I guess that is it for today.

Happy hunting,