Our featured treasure for March is part of a group of artifacts that we have featured before. Known as “wedges” these silver items were often smuggled on board the larger, heavily-armed guard galleons as contraband.
The pie shaped wedges were arranged in such a way that they could fit tightly in the bottom of a wooden cask or barrel and then covered over by some commonly shipped cargo. In this way the owners could avoid paying taxes. The 1715 Spanish Plate Fleet is the only known provenience for these types of ingots.
These wedges were recovered by modern divers from a 1715 Fleet wreck which has since been referred to, not surprisingly, as the “Wedge Wreck”. Our little wedge featured here is special because, well, it is so little. In fact, it is one of the smallest wedges we have ever seen. Although it weighs a hefty 320.33 grams (as it is most certainly solid), it is very tiny, about 1 ¾ inches at its longest point and about 1 ¼ wide.
Information for this post was gathered from:
SPANISH TREASURE BARS From New World Shipwrecks
By Alan K. Craig & Ernest J. Richards, Jr.
EN RADA Publications 2003