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Mary Rose reveals armour piercing cannonball secret

The Mary Rose


By Richard Gray - The Telegraph


She was first raised from her underwater resting place more than 30 years ago and has been prized as an archaeological gem, but it appears the she still has some secrets to surrender.

Scientists studying Henry VIII’s naval flagship, which sank 468 years ago off the south coast of England in a battle with the French, are making new discoveries about the vessel that will change our understanding of history.

New finds will be among 19,000 artefacts going on show in a new £23 million museum, built around the skeleton of the vessel, due to open later this year.

Archaeologists have found the remains of a dog that lived on board, and longbows found on board have revealed a great deal about archery at the time.

Among the items most exciting archaeologists are cannonballs believed to be early examples of armour-piercing rounds.

Such shells were thought to have been developed during the late 1800s, before the technology was refined during the world wars.

But the new findings by experts working with the Mary Rose Trust, which has been preserving the ship, now suggest the technology was being used several centuries earlier — although it could also have been a money-saving strategy, using cheaper iron inside the lead balls.

Powerful imaging technology has revealed cubic-shaped lumps of iron encased in the soft, lead cannonballs, which would have allowed guns to punch through the sides of enemy vessels.


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