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-Mary Rose Missing Piece Found 2003-08-18

Posted by clype in Discovery, Humanities.

Divers could have found the front section of the Tudor warship 'The Mary Rose', marine archaeologists have confirmed.

Experts, who have been diving down to the wreck off Portsmouth for the last month, have excavated a five-metre-long piece of wood which they believe is the front stem of the ship's keel.

Archaeologists believe this stem could be attached to the front section, the bowcastle, of the ship which sunk in 1545.

The bowcastle is the fortified front of the ship which housed archers and cannon.

If this is true it means that experts have found the final jigsaw piece of 'The Mary Rose' and it would mean that a complete cross section of the warship has now been discovered.

The puzzle is made all the more complex as experts have no idea what the bowcastle actually looks like.

The earliest picture of Henry-8E's flagship was painted in 1547, two years after the ship sank.

About three quarters of Henry-8E's flagship was raised in 1982 and marine archaeologists have been keen to find out ever since if the final quarter bowcastle, which housed archers and cannon was still in the silt of the Solent. The chief executive of 'The Mary Rose Trust', Mr.John Lippiett, said:

'There is a chance that we have found the bowcastle of "The Mary Rose" and I am saying that because I am an optimist. What we have found is in remarkable condition. The test is to put a knife into the wood to see how far it goes in and the knife doesn't'.

Divers have been visiting the wreck for the first time since the main part of the ship was raised in 1982.

They have been aboard the dive ship 'Terschelling' working about 15 metres down in poor visibility.

The month-long dive has been prompted due to 'The Ministry of Defence's' plans to deepen the channels to Portsmouth naval base so it can be used for the navy's bigger aircraft carriers, which are due to enter service in 2012.

'The Mary Rose' wreck site is in the way of one of the proposals to deepen the channels to the naval base and investigations and surveys by 'The Ministry of Defence' will take place to find out whether the dredging would disturb the fragile remainder of the ship which has been under the sea for 458 years.

"Divers 'find missing piece' in Mary Rose jigsaw", Ananova 2003-08-18 Mo 12:17


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