In fact, typical blue-and-white Chinese porcelain shards occur at 10 locations along this south-eastern coast of South Africa. The wrecks believed to be associated with these sites are: Sao Joao 1552; Sao Bento 1554, Sao Thome 1589, Santo Alberto 1593, Sao Joao Baptista 1622, Sao Goncalo 1630, Nossa Senhore de Belem 1635 and Nossa Senhore de Atalaia do Piheiro 1647.
|Porcelain found on beach near Port Edward, |
in all likelihood from the Sao Joao.
An interesting factor when it comes to dating porcelain shards from shipwrecks is that porcelain was regularly in use as ballast i.e. material laid down in the hold of a vessel to provide stability. Porcelain was also carried for the export trade market: the Portuguese were the first seafaring people to reach China via the Cape of Good Hope. In the early 16th c they carried the first consignment of china wares via the Cape to Europe.
Turner, M: Shipwrecks & Salvage in South Africa
Vieira de Castro, F: The Pepper Wreck: A Portuguese Indiaman at the Mouth of the Tagus River