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Mary Rose

The Mary Rose was built in Portsmouth, England, in 1509-1510 and named for King Henry VIII's sister Mary; she served as a warship for Sir Edward Howard. In 1536 she was rebuilt, having her weight increased from 600 to 700 tonnes. She sank while in battle with the French fleet in the Solent Channel (between Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight) in 1545.

In 1836 the ship was found, and several items like timbers and longbows were recovered from the wreck.

Alexander McKee restarted the search in 1965, and in 1967 Professor Harold Edgerton found an acoustic anomaly by using side scan sonar. In 1971 a springtide, combined with a severe gale, uncovered a layer of sediment, leaving several structural timbers clearly visible. In the years that followed, it became clear that the wreck lay on her starboard side, at an angle of 60.

In 1979 the Mary Rose Trust was formed to excavate the wreck. First, the wreck was lifted by means of a lifting frame. After that, the wreck, still under water, could be lifted onto a support cradle. On 11 October 1982 the wreck was lifted from the water and put upright in a dry dock with a temperature of 2 - 6 C and a relative humidity of 95%.

In 1994 work started on a three-stage conservation process using low-molecular-weight polyethylene glycol. The second stage consists of spraying the wreck with a high-molecular- weight polyethylene glycol; these first two stages will take at least twenty years to complete. In the third stage, the wreck will be slowly dried.

A great number of artifacts were found during excavation, including navigational equipment, guns, longbows, personal belongings, and human remains. These artifacts, and the wreck itself, are displayed at the Mary Rose museum located on the Royal Naval base in Portsmouth, England.



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