Thu | Sep 20, 2018

Charting Jamaica history

Published:Sunday | January 7, 2018 | 12:42 AM
Pharmaceutical Bottle

We are continuing our journey through time to highlight key elements from Jamaica's history through the artefacts. This week we focus on the Pharmaceutical Bottle. 

In the late seventeenth century, Port Royal was a bustling trading post that attracted ships from England, North America and Africa. By 1692, the town housed at least eight thousand inhabitants with a demand for precious items such as gold, silver, wigs and painters. There was also a great demand for doctors.It is documented that residents utilised the services of three 'good' doctors and a pharmacist. 

Pharmaceutical Bottles as the one pictured,  were used to dispense ointments and various medication. This pharmaceutical bottle has a cylindrical shape with a short neck, rounded shoulders and an everted rim. However, a piece of coral formed around the bottle while it lay buried in the underwater city of Port Royal. It is possible that this bottle was made in the late sixteen hundreds. 

Did you know?
The Port Royal Collection of the Institute of Jamaicans contains approximately sixty glass pharmaceutical bottles of varying sizes also known as apothecary bottles, they were found in the New Street and the Port Royal Excavations that took place in the 1980s and 1990s respectively. 

- Information compiled by Sharifa Balfour, assistant curator National Museum Jamaica - Institute of Jamaica.