News of the Mary Rose and how it was reclaimed from the Solent seabed has captured national headlines for years. The excavation and raising of the wreck represented a milestone in the field of maritime archaeology with the recovered ship housing a veritable time capsule of historic relics, objects and artefacts.
The bones of a total of 179 people were found during the excavations of the Mary Rose, including 92 “fairly complete skeletons”, more or less complete collections of bones associated with specific individuals. Analysis of these has shown that crew members were all male, most of them young adults.1
Today the Mary Rose Museum is a major visitor attraction at the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard and makes a fascinating and educational day out for all the family.
The Many Faces of Tudor England
In March of 2019, the Mary Rose Trust launched a new temporary exhibition based on scientific ‘forensic archaeology’, wherein DNA taken from some of the remains of the crew members was examined in detail. The outcome of these studies revealed that the crew of the Mary Rose were far more diverse than originally thought and hailed from all over Europe and Africa.
Working with the Mary Rose team, we conceived and developed a series of touchscreen interpretation programmes around the key facts derived from the DNA and genealogical studies.
- The study of teeth and bones and what they reveal about the crew
- The study of the onboard rat catcher, Hatch the Dog, and facts around canine DNA
- How DNA revealed the crew’s provenance and ethnicity
- How found objects uncovered further clues to the crew’s background
- How isotopes analysis indicated regional information
- A crew key member was traced to present day members of the public using genealogy