Henry 8th’s flagship the Mary Rose was spectacularly raised from the seabed off of Portsmouth, Hampshire in 1982, anyone who watched the moments as the wreck broke through the water will remember the awful shock as one of the supports failed and it seemed as if she would go back to her watery grave. However the salvage was successful and the immense task of preservation started.
A museum has been built around the remains and this is now open to the public. Interpreting what has been found is an on going task and one area which is drawing some attention is that scientists are attempting to extract DNA from the bones discovered inside the ship. Ten skulls have had facial reconstruction so we can see what they looked like, but just who were they?
Remains of 179 individuals were found inboard, mostly male and under the age of 30 years. The position within the ship gives an idea of their tasks aboard. This will be a fascinating project for genealogists to watch and will once more bring family history and DNA to the forefront of the news.
The image above is a detail of the Cowdray Engraving showing the sinking of the Mary Rose on 19 July 1545. Based on an original painted between 1545 and 1548 for Anthony Browne, Master of the Horse.