The Men of the Mary Rose


The recovery of the Mary Rose has been a significant and lengthy process of conservation and discovery. For many it is assumed that the value of such an enterprise is in the discovery and study of artefacts. There is no denying that the knowledge of naval technology of the times has been significantly advanced. Social study has also been advanced with the recovery of personal possessions carried aboard by the crew. These possessions provide a view across society of the time, or at least of male society, because items used by the most junior member of the crew through to the commander of the vessel have spanned social standing and wealth. What is of at least equal value is the knowledge gained by forensic archaeology through the study of skeletal remains. Dr Stirland has set out the results of her important study. We know something of the wealthy in societies reaching back into ancient history because the wealthy spent some of their assets on attempting to achieve some form of immortality. In some societies the rich and powerful spent a very large percentage of their wealth on this pursuit. Unfortunately the surviving remains have represented a very tiny percentage of the population of the times. A pyramid or a ship burial tell us much of one individual

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