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Site: 18ST329/330 Fly/St. Inigoes House

Context: Lot 28, Field 6, Shovel Test N14850 E10125, Plowzone

Site Date Range: c. 1650-1750

Metal: Silver

Dimensions: 0.59” (15 mm) wide, 0.77” (19.5 mm) tall (not including loops), 0.17” (4.3 mm) thick

Hollow cross that was designed to hold a sacred relic, such as a bone or piece of cloth associated with a saint. A removable pin located in the vertical arm of the cross allows the face plate to be removed or held in place. The reliquary has not been opened, but x-radiography was done to look for anything that might be inside. It revealed the inner construction of the cross, but there does not appear to be any evidence of an object stored within.

The reliquary cross was possibly part of a rosary or necklace. Its discovery at a Jesuit settlement and its function as a receptacle for a sacred relic indicate that it is Roman Catholic in origin, since veneration of saints through blessed icons is more prominent among Catholics than non-Catholics.

Courtesy Naval District Washington, Webster Field Annex.