An Investigation of Lead Sheathing Recovered from Two 16th Century Iberian Shipwrecks Located in Pensacola Bay

Andrew Marr

           Samples of lead sheathing recovered from the Emanuel Point wrecks, two sixteenth-century colonial Iberian vessels, underwent a series of analytical methodologies to determine the lead's original provenience. Historical evidence suggested, but did not confirm, the probability that the lead used to protect these vessels originally came from Spain. Prior to this thesis, it was theorized that a New World source of lead may have provided colonial vessels with replacement sheathing, had they required such repairs. Experimental archaeology, x-ray fluorescence, and multiple-collector inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry confirmed that the lead originated from a mine known as Mina La Sultana located in southern Iberia, and that this sheathing technique could survive the duration of a transatlantic voyage.

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