The “Tortugas” shipwreck did not yield a substantial number of religious artifacts. However, one especially interesting object is a highly eroded clay figurine depicting the Virgin Mary possibly holding the baby Jesus. This theme is seemingly quite appropriate due to the fact that for centuries prior and after the sailing of the “Tortugas” ship, the Virgin Mary served as the protector of mariners, Stella Maris, the ‘Star of the Sea.”
The Virgin Mary and baby Jesus are also depicted on one side of a degraded brass pendant, one of many small finds present in the “Tortugas” artifact assemblage. Most Spanish sailors wore amulets of the Virgin Mary or their favorite saint around their necks to seek protection, and for similar reasons, Christopher Columbus’ flagship was named for the Virgin Mary, Santa Maria.
Additional religious objects include wooden and palm nut rosary beads and a blue on white Talavera plate adorned with heraldic or religious motifs including two crossed keys surmounted by a cross (see Tableware section).