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Last Updated: Thursday, 29 July, 2004, 05:39 GMT 06:39 UK
Divers return to Mary Rose site
Raising artefacts during the excavation
Divers discovered a major part of the ship last year
Divers are returning to the historic wreck site of the Mary Rose for a three-week excavation.

The excavation is to be broadcast live at the Mary Rose Museum in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard via a video link from the dive vessel moored in the Solent.

Most of the ship was raised from the Solent in 1982 after 437 years under the sea.

Last year divers found a 16 foot (five-metre) timber from the ship but more vital finds may lie still undiscovered.

Mary Rose sank off Portsmouth on 19 July, 1545, in front of Henry VIII, who was watching his favourite ship engage the French
It appears she was overloaded or mishandled and not, as the French claim, holed by one of their cannon
Built between 1509 and 1511, she was the pride of the Tudor fleet and was one of the first warships which could fire a broadside
She was named after Princess Mary, Henry's youngest sister
Searches for the ship began in the 1960s, but it was not until 1971 that she was found
More than 60 million people worldwide watched the raising of Mary Rose live on television on 11 October 1982

A spokesman from the Mary Rose Trust said: "The dive last year was very successful but left us tantalisingly close to uncovering what could be an essential part of the Mary Rose.

"This year we intend to return to the bow area and excavate to find the extent of the timbers that may still lie under the mud. Both archaeologists and the Ministry of Defence are anxious to know the results."

The reinvestigation of the wreck site started after the Royal Navy revealed it planned to deepen the channel to cope with the next generation of warships, including the new aircraft carriers.

At the moment the route to the naval base is not deep enough for the new super-carriers - which are twice the size of existing vessels.

The Navy's preferred route crosses the wreck site of the Mary Rose, a couple of miles out into the Solent from the harbour mouth, and will need to be dredged.

The Mary Rose was the pride of Henry VIII's navy when she sank in 1545.

Three-quarters of Henry VIII's flagship was raised in 1982 and marine archaeologists have been searching for the final quarter bowcastle.



In pictures: New Mary Rose find
18 Aug 03  |  Photo Gallery
Mary Rose divers' 'exciting' find
18 Aug 03  |  Hampshire/Dorset
Divers explore Mary Rose wreck
22 Jul 03  |  Hampshire/Dorset
Mary Rose experts to raise ship
04 Apr 03  |  Wales

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