The 75 Pewter items recovered from the wreck of the Mary Rose represents the largest find in post-Roman Britain because generally pewter does not survive well in soil.
Pewter is either fine metal [tin with copper] or lay metal [tin with lead]. Flatware [plates and dishes] needed to be of the harder fine metal, whilst hollow-ware drinking pots and other round vessels could be made from the softer lay metal.
The origin of the pewter is uncertain but it is believed that most of the flatware was produced domestically whereas some of the hollow ware may have originated from continental Europe.
Pewterware was more expensive than the wooden alternative and so was consequently more likely to be the property of the senior members of the crew. Pewterware was found distributed throughout the ship.
Legislation in 1503 ordered each pewterer to stamp his mark or 'touch' on all his pewter hollow-ware. Unfortunately the Pewterer's Company register of marks (touchplates) was lost in the Great Fire of London in 1666, so it is seldom possible to identify the marks today.
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