Artifact Spotlight — Galera Ware Artifact

Kristi Nichols, Director of Archaeology, Collections and Historical Research
September 23, 2019
Pieces of brick colored ceramics with decorative swirls

Galera Ware is a type of thin ceramic that is believed to originate out of Jalisco, Mexico, more specifically, the town of Tlaquepaque. The ware was first identified in Texas during archeological excavations in 1968. It can be found at most Spanish Colonial Sites in Texas.

These ceramics were made using a mold, rather than throwing on a wheel. They are typically orange to brick red in color, and exhibit black, white, yellow, and green decorations. The most common forms of intact vessels were bean pots, serving dishes and platters, cups (tazas), and chocolate pots. Decorations typically consist of dots, black/brown vine-like and feather-like lines, and rim bands.

When the missions arrived in San Antonio, they brought with them the practice of making hot chocolate. Although different than the hot chocolate most consume today, this was a sweet and spicy drink made by whisking hot water, bitter chocolate, spices (such as cinnamon, vanilla, nutmeg, and chiles) and piloncillo into a frothy mixture.

Copper chocolate pots appear to have been replaced by ceramic versions during the mid-1700s. Similar looking ceramics continued to be manufactured today.