The Pepper Wreck, an early 17th-century Portuguese Indiaman at the mouth of the Tagus River, Portugal

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Abstract

Found in 1993 of the rocks of the fortress São Julião da Barra, at the mouth of the Tagus River, the SJB2 shipwreck—or Pepper Wreck—was tentatively identified as the Portuguese Indiaman Nossa Senhora dos Mártires, lost at this location on its return voyage from Cochin, in India, on 14 September 1606. Its archaeological excavation disclosed a collection of artefacts from the late 16th and the early 17th centuries and allowed the study of the surviving hull structure. The evidence suggests that the Pepper Wreck was a typical Portuguese Indiaman, similar to those described in Portuguese 16th century ship treatises, with a keel of around 27.7 m and an overall length of nearly 40 m.

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