Historical and interdisciplinary enquiry into the sinking of the Mary Rose

Teaching History article

By Clare Barnes, published 16th December 2019

Using a site visit to demonstrate how our knowledge of the past is shaped by new evidence and new research techniques

The raising of Henry VIII’s warship, the Mary Rose, from the sea bed set in train an extraordinary programme of interdisciplinary research, relentlessly pursuing the clues to Tudor life and death provided by the remains of the ship, its cargo and crew. In this article Clare Barnes offers fascinating insights into the way in which this recent scholarship has helped to transform our understanding of the period. She also explains how the Learning Department at the Mary Rose Museum use artefacts and source materials alongside competing theories advanced over time, to build historical enquiries for students of different ages. While these tap into young people’s curiosity about the ship’s sinking, they go beyond the details of this question to develop their knowledge of the enquiry process itself and of the ways in which historical knowledge is constructed and debated.

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