History: This Earthenware Atocha Olive Jar Shard lends a tangible view of lifestyle on a treasure galleon. Consider each galleon fleet as a floating community; requiring all the food wares and armament needed to support every crew member across the Atlantic and points in between.
Olive Jars were used as early storage containers to transport dry goods and grains, honey, oils, wines, and ingredients required for cooking. By nature, pottery sherds required a process somewhat similar to the conservation of metal artifacts, to "purge" excess chlorides, or salt crystals, left over after exposure to air (evaporation). Although they are not as heavily "concreted" as silvers or other metal artifacts, algaes and marine growths must delicately be removed to preserve the artifact itself. The white residuals are what is left over from the conservation process.