Ship Silhouette Carving
Deep in the bilge among scraps of wood and other carpenters’ debris just abaft the port pump sump a curious and unique object was discovered: the small carved silhouette of a ship in the shape of a classic galleon. Stained dark from the sediments in which it was buried, the miniature carving (07,754) measures 11.3 cm in length, 4.4 cm in height, and 4 mm to 7 mm in thickness. Fashioned from fir, classic features of a typical 16th-century Spanish galleon, such as the heavy beakhead in the bow, a pronounced forecastle, high freeboard, and towering sterncastle and gallery are faithfully reproduced in silhouette by someone who was quite familiar with contemporary hallmarks of naval architecture.
Fig. 40. A craftsman left behind this small carved silhouette of a 16th century galleon in the bottom of the ship.
The carving‘s discovery beneath ballast and bilge sediments suggests that it probably was deposited in the ship at the time of its construction, perhaps inadvertently left behind by an apprentice shipwright as he resumed his work. The only other known image of a Spanish galleon found in the New World is a graffiti-like rendering on a plank discovered on the Red Bay galleon San Juan (Grenier 1988:75).
Fig. 41. (Top) Galleon model dated 1540 in the Museo Naval in Madrid. (Bottom) Emanuel Point silhouette carving shown at same size.