Skip to main content

3D images offer a virtual glimpse at objects found aboard the sunken Mary Rose

mary rose sunken warship skull
Mary Rose Museum
History buffs can now study the remains of sailors and artifacts discovered aboard Henry VIII’s sunken warship, the Mary Rose. From a carpenter’s skull to a mirror, rigging, and leather shoes, the high-quality, virtual objects bring to life the maritime experience, as it was known nearly 500 years ago.

“It’s very rare to have such a large group of surviving 16th-century human remains available for study.”

Virtual Tudors’ “Men of the Mary Rose: 3D” is collaboration between Swansea University, the Mary Rose Trust, and Oxford University, in which researchers imaged a handful of the thousands of artifacts on display at the Mary Rose Museum in Portsmouth, England to create a series of high-resolution 3D models.

“It’s very rare to have such a large group of surviving 16th-century human remains available for study,” Professor Catheter Fletcher of Swansea University told Digital Trends. “The 3D photos mean researchers around the world can join in the analysis without worrying about the impact on the physical remains themselves — or indeed the need to travel to see them on site. We’re hoping to discover much more about the lifestyles and characteristics of these men — which in turn should mean new insights into Tudor society.”

To construct the 3D models, researchers took thousands of images of various objects and used a technique called photogrammetry to stitch the high-resolution images together.

Henry VIII’s flagship warship, the Mary Rose, was a maritime marvel when it was built in 1512, sporting recently introduced gun ports that allowed the ship to conceal and reveal its cannons. When it was rebuilt in 1536, the ship featured one of the first uses of broadside cannons.

Historians disagree about what exactly caused the Mary Rose and her crew of 500 to perish, but she sank on July 19, 1545, while defending the country against a French invasion fleet. The ship was rediscovered in 1971 and was salvaged from the straits north of the Isle of Wight in 1982.

Editors' Recommendations

Dyllan Furness
Dyllan Furness is a freelance writer from Florida. He covers strange science and emerging tech for Digital Trends, focusing…
The best 3D printers under $500
3D printers are finally affordable. Here are the best models under $500
anycubic photon review 3d printer xxl 2

The 3D printing market has seen quite a few changes over the last few years. In just the span of a decade, the barrier to entry has dropped from well over several thousand dollars to under $200 in some cases. However, all entry and mid-level printers are not made equal. We have a few suggestions for prospective buyers and other information regarding alternatives not found on this list.

To some veterans of the 3D printing scene, this list may seem like it lacks a few of the most commonly recommended printers for newcomers. This is by design. Our list only considers printers with tested components from proven, reliable vendors. That's why we chose the Monoprice MP Mini v2 as our top pick--it's reliable and easy to use. We have avoided any printer with a frame primarily made from interlocking acrylic pieces and anything historically unreliable.
Most bang for your buck: Monoprice MP Mini v2

Read more
Ceramic ink could let doctors 3D print bones directly into a patient’s body
ceramic ink 3d printed bones bioprinting australia 2

Scientists use a novel ink to 3D print ‘bone’ with living cells

The term 3D bioprinting refers to the use of 3D printing technology to fabricate biomedical parts that, eventually, could be used to create replacement organs or other body parts as required. While we’re not at that point just yet, a number of big advances have been made toward this dream over the past couple of decades.

Read more
The future of making stuff: Inside the evolution of 3D printing with Formlabs
future of 3d printing formlabs ces 2021 castablewax40

When 3D printing went mainstream in the mid-2010s and exploded in popularity, it was about as hyped up as it possibly could be. Evangelists told us it would fundamentally transform the way goods were made, and usher in a bold new era of creative freedom. Soon, they said, we’d be able to fabricate anything we wanted on-demand, Star Trek replicator style, right from the comfort of our own homes.

But of course, 3D printing didn't really live up to that high-flying dream. Instead, it made a momentary splash and then largely returned to the fringes, gaining adoption in hobbyist workshops and cutting-edge product design labs, but not really changing the face of manufacturing in the way many hoped it might.

Read more