Posted by Penelope Lovesy at 11/07/2020 01:24:07
This week’s featured object is a 17th century drug jar recovered from the depths of the sea.
This fine tin-glazed earthenware (majolica) jar was the only item relating to health and medicine found at the site of the Swash Channel Wreck.
With a white overall glaze, the jar has a blue painted central panel that includes the lettering ‘V. ALBUM.CAM’. This lettering denotes the medicinal compound contained within, Unguentum Album Camphoratum, or camphorated white ointment. The fine cooling ointment, made from rose oil, white wax, lead carbonate and ground camphor would have been used for easing pains and itching within wounds and ulcers.
The Swash Channel Wreck is believed to be the ‘Fame of Hoorn.’ The ‘Fame’ was a Dutch merchant ship that wrecked in January 1631, while on its way to the West Indies to take part in the salt trade.
The wreck is located on the edge of a large sandbank called Hook Sand in the Swash Channel approaching Poole Harbour. A large-scale underwater excavation of the site was carried out by Bournemouth University’s maritime archaeology unit between 2010-13 and the finds now are held by Poole Museum.