Key Mary Rose archaeologist dies

Margaret Rule, who led the diving excavation of the Tudor warship Mary Rose in England’s Solent, has died, aged 86.

Rule’s connection with the project began in 1965 when she teamed up with military historian Alexander McKee, who was sure he knew where Henry VIII’s grand warship had sunk in 1545. The ship’s timbers were located in 1971 and a nine-year excavation programme culminated in the raising of its well preserved starboard side from the Solent’s silt in 1982.

Rule was appointed Chief Archaeologist of the group set up in 1979 to oversee the ship’s salvage. After the raising of the Mary Rose, Rule was made a CBE and wrote a book, The Mary Rose: the Excavation and Raising of Henry VIII’s Flagship.

She continued as Research Director with the Mary Rose Trust until 1994.

Mary Rose apart, Rule worked with distinction on many other projects, maritime and terrestrial, at home and abroad.

She is survived by her son, Nick, while her husband, Arthur, predeceased her last year.

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