Researchers have identified the remains of several elite archers within the wreckage of the Mary Rose.
Henry VIII's flagship sank in 1545 during an attack on a Fresh invasion fleet but was raised from the depths in 1982 and put on display. Amongst the plethora of objects and artifacts discovered within the wreckage were up to 100 skeletons. By identifying signs of repetitive strain injury researchers have been able to determine that several of the skeletons belonged to a company of elite archers who would have accompanied the crew on its final voyage.
"We know plenty about the Mary Rose but much less about the people on board," said biochemist Nick Owen. "The archers were the elite but the longbows they used took a toll of their bodies and you can see signs of repetitive stress in the shoulders and lower spine."
"DNA identification has been difficult because they have been contaminated by cockles, molluscs and algae."
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