The Mary Rose sank off Portsmouth - in full view of Henry VIII - during a naval battle with the French. The wreck was famously raised from the seabed in 1982.
The University has been working closely with the Mary Rose Trust for many years, examining remains of the sailors and the artefacts on board, shedding new light on the lives of a Tudor naval crew.
One extraordinary discovery made recently, based on Swansea research, was that the ship’s crew included sailors of African, Mediterranean and Middle Eastern origin. It shows that the men making up the English navy were far more diverse than had previously been thought.
Dr Owen and team established that photogrammetry – a method of producing high definition, photorealistic 3-D images – was a very promising method for visually analysing skulls. This allowed osteologists – bone specialists - to test how effective digital remains were for analysing skeletons to establish sex and ancestry or identify diseases that the individual suffered from, like rickets and scurvy.
During the analysis of the photogrammetry models, Dr Owen and team, working with Oxford Archaeological Ltd, carried out a detailed study of ten skulls of Mary Rose crew members, chosen at random. It was during this work that one of the skulls, Henry's, was identified as being of African origin.
Dr Nick Owen, of Swansea University College of Engineering, who has led the University’s work on the Mary Rose, said:
“I have carried out research with the Mary Rose Trust for almost 10 years. It has been brilliant, and never fails to throw up the unexpected, shedding more light onto the amazing lives of Tudor seamen.”