Archaeology Magazine

A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America

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The Crew of the Mary Rose

Thursday, May 30, 2013

The-cook-of-the-Mary-Rose-010-1PORTSMOUTH, ENGLAND—Genetic testing of skeletal remains discovered on board the Mary Rose, Henry VIII’s flagship, will tell scientists about sailors’ hair color and eye color, but it could also lead them to the identities of some of the crew members and their living descendants. “There are no records of those who were on board so it will be like searching for one blade of grass in a field,” said Nick Owen of Swansea University. Examination of bones and artifacts from the wreck has shown what roles some of the men may have played on the ship, including archer, purser, and gunner. And, using 3-D scans of ten skulls, artists have reconstructed what the men may have looked like, including the ship's cook (above). The ship and its 19,000 artifacts are housed in a new museum at Portsmouth’s Historic Dockyard.