The Mary Rose was built in Portsmouth, England in 1509-1510, and served as a warship for Sir Edward Howard. In 1536 she was rebuilt, having her weight increased from 600 to 700 tonnes. She sank while in battle with the French fleet in the Solent Channel (between Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight) in 1545. In 1836 the ship was found, and several items like timbers and longbows were recovered from the wreck.
Alexander McKee restarted the search in 1965, followed the finding of an acoustic anomaly using side scan sonar by Professor Harold Edgerton in 1967. In 1971 a springtide, combined with a severe gale uncovered a layer of sediment from which several structural timbers were clearly visible. In the years that followed it became clear that the wreck lay on her starboard side, at an angle of 60°.
In 1979 the Mary Rose Trust was formed in order to excavate the wreck. First the wreck was lifted by means of lifting frame. After that the wreck, still under water, could be lifted on to a support cradle. On 11 October 1982 the wreck was lifted from the water, and put upright in a dry dock with a temperature of 2-6 degrees (C) and a relative humidity of 95%.
In 1994 work started on a three-stage conservation process using low molecular weight polyethylene glycol. The second stage consists of spraying the wreck with a high molecular weight polyethylene glycol; these first two stages will take at least twenty years to complete. In the third stage the wreck will be slowly dried.
A great number of artifacts were found during excavation, including navigational equipment, guns, longbows, personal belongings and human remains. These artifacts, and the wreck itself, are displayed at the Mary Rose museum located on the Royal Naval base in Portsmouth, England.