Digital Library

Tinajas (c. 1600)

Filipe Castro, Richard Fontánez, Gustavo García, Raymond Tubby, and Wayne Lusardi


Country: Puerto Rico

Place: San Juan


Dated: 1580-1640

History of Wreck

This site, referenced as San Juan 1, is located adjacent to the shoreline of Isla San Juan on the western side of El Morro.

The area surveyed in 2008 by a joint team from Instituto de Investigaciones Costaneras, the Institute of Nautical Archaeology,  and the ShipLAB at Texas A&M University, measured approximately 300 meters long and 60 meters wide and was established to explore a known scatter of cultural material consisting principally of olive jar fragments.

The goals of the survey were to determine whether the ceramic fragments were associated with an unknown shipwreck site. To ensure that sufficient data would be available to locate any potentially significant targets in the area survey, tracklines were established on a 15-meter lane spacing and laid to follow the shoreline. Upon visual inspection this site was found to consist of a scatter of ballast stones and red clay shards mainly consisting of olive jar rims spread over an area with iron concretions attached to the rocks. The area surrounding the ballast pile is littered with olive jar shards and ron concretions, which accumulate in the rock crevices. There are large pockets of sediment that may contain artifacts and perhaps hull remains. We have raised one olive jar rim to make a drawing and placed it back on the site. It appears to be a typical Middle Style rim, dating from somewhere between 1580 to 1800 (Goggin 1964).

One charred timber was found in one of the crevices. A sample was taken for carbon dating and yielded a date (for 2 sigma) Cal AD 1440-1640, compatible with the olive jars rim style.


Castro, F., Fontánez, R., Garcia, G., Tubby, R., and Lusardi, W., The Nautical Archaeology of Puerto Rico, 2008 Field Season Report, College Station, 2008.

Goggin, John M., Indian and Spanish Selected Writings, Coral Gables: University of Miami Press, 1964.