New evidence from mainland Europe and possibly as far afield as north Africa has revealed Heny VIII’s warship was a true melting pot crewed by sailors.
The findings, from the wreck of the Mary Rose,based on skeletons salvaged are the latest to reveal the multicultural nature of Tudor England.
Analysis of eight sailors who died fighting the French reveals two came from the Mediterranean, while another two could trace their origins to Africa.
In 1545 in the Battle of the Solent The Mary Rose, which served as Henry VIII’s flagship, was sunk while leading an attack .
The Mary Rose museum in Portsmouth commissioned a year-long research project involving scientists from several British universities to search out more about the famous ship’s crew.
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They used the latest techniques to reveal in unprecedented detail information,what they looked like and where these men came from.
One of the most intriguing discoveries was a skeleton the researchers named “Henry”.
While the genetic analysis suggested his heritage came from much further afield, chemical content of his bones suggested this crew member had been born and raised in Britain, .
DNA extracted from the man’s tooth revealed implying at least one of his parents hailed from Morocco or Algeria,he was genetically similar to modern-day north Africans.
The second surprising discovery came from the remains of the royal archer, who was found trapped beneath a cannon on the main decka high-ranking soldier .
As he served a nation famed for its longbow skills, this individual was long assumed to be English, but chemical analysis of the man’s teeth suggested he too hailed from north Africa.
The full results from the new study will be presented at a Mary Rose exhibition titled The Many Faces of Tudor England.
Dr Alexzandra Hildred, head of research at the museum said: “Based on new scientific proof taken from isotope analysis as well as DNA testing of bones and teeth , the exhibition takes you on a journey of discovery, exploring the backgrounds of a number of the crew,”.
“500 years ago,It also assumed what the finds from the Mary Rose can tell us about diversity and globalization in Tudor England,”.
The findings from the Mary Rose are not the first people of African heritage documented living in 16th-century England.
The New Evidence, which airs on 17 March at 8pm the new evidence will also feature in a Channel 4 documentary,Skeletons of the Mary Rose.
In her book Black Tudors, historian for hundreds of Africans inhabiting the country during this period Dr Miranda Kaufmann presented evidence.
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