Thursday, August 14, 2014

8/14/14 Report - Treasure Coast Gold Artifact Find Identified As Reliquary Pendant. Google Higher Resolution Satellite Imagery Coming Soon. Massive Tomb Found.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

2014 Treasure Coast Find (on left) From the Salvage Vessel Booty

New information just in about the Booty's Treasure Coast gold relic find.

I received a photo of this find back a few weeks ago and showed it in my 7/31/14 post.   After doing a little research I said I thought the object might be a pyx.  Yesterday I received an email about the item from author and researcher Laura Strolia.   It seems I was wrong about the identity of the item.  

Here is what our friend Laura Strolia said.

In regards to the recent find ... I believe it is a RELIQUARY PENDANT.  The central oculus would have held an object that belonged to a saint, such as a piece of hair, or a painted image of a holy person.  Crystal would have been added for protection, as well as a chain.

This piece of devotional jewelry exhibits a cross above a sunburst.  The sunburst was intentionally created to take on features of a monstrance, an object used to display the consecrated Eucharistic Host for adoration.  During the Colonial Era, the monstrance design was quite common for displaying relics, with some relicarios being several feet high and others being only a few inches long.  For instance, a beautiful hanging pendant from the late 1600s, belonging to the Hispanic Society of America Collection, shows an intriguing sunburst with a topped cross.  While it does not contain a relic, the subject matter of reverence is an example of its popularity for the time period.

Reliquary pendants suspended on a chain would have been worn with upmost care and love because of their precious contents.  Catholics venerated saints and owned relics to be intimately connected to a favorite saint through prayer.  The remains were a reminder of their existing spiritual relationship.

The size of the pendant recently salvaged seems to be of a quite large dimension compared to the smaller lightweight personal pieces that were worn around the neck or waist.  Wearing a pendant of this size, along with its bulkiness, would put the holy object within at significant risk for physical damage.  Therefore, one would assert it was not designed as a wearable piece of jewelry, but to display elsewhere.  The devout often kept religious items in view, hanging from chains in their private quarters for adoration.  Often these exquisite pendants were given as votive offerings and church treasuries owned many donated ones.  On a holy person’s feast day, it was common for reliquaries to be carried and suspended for public view.  They would then be exhibited in the church during hours of prayer.

It had been mentioned that the found artifact might have been a pyx and would have carried the consecrated Host to the sick or dying.  Catholics believe that the bread and wine truly become the Body and Blood of our Lord, Jesus Christ.  The container used for such an important mission needed to be completely closed on all sides, front, and back. It was crucial no elements came into contact with the consecrated Host through any cracks or opened wire, and that was why small round boxes with secured latches were usually used for the job.  A pyx would have been put in a burse (pouch) that hung around a priest’s neck while traveling.  When looking at the artifact, there seems to be a circle on its top that most pendants have for chains.  This piece of hardware would not be needed on a pyx because it was the burse that included the long fabric or leather pieces for hanging.  When taken out of a church, a pyx would never be hung by itself without being in a burse, and especially with having airy filigree metalwork.  If any Hosts had not been used, the pyx immediately went back to the Church where the Blessed Sacrament was returned to a closed tabernacle.  Now, three hundred years later, the Church still acts with laws regarding the importance of the Sacrament, as I recently attended a meeting by our Bishop in protecting the sanctity and dignity of Holy Communion distribution.  After all, the Blessed Host IS the very life of God, a sacrament which Christ taught is necessary for eternal life. -- Laura Strolia
Thanks much Laura.  

You might have read Laura's book The Marigalera of the 1715 Fleet.  I've read it and mentioned it in this blog.

 Google Maps provides a satellite and street views.  Most of you probably know that.  Maybe you have used google to research remote sites.   Well Google now has a contract with a satellite company to obtain imagery from space that will detect objects as small as ten inches.   That is a good tool for higher definition remote research.

Here is the link.

A massive tomb from the era of Alexander the Great was uncovered in Greece.  Nearly 500 meters in circumference, it is one of the largest ever uncovered in Greece.

Just goes to show how many things remain undiscovered if this huge tomb could remain hidden for so long.

On the Treasure Coast the tides are still bigger than normal and the surf is predicted to be 1 foot or so for at least several days.

No new tropical activity in the Atlantic either.

Happy hunting,