Video: Warship sunk in 1500s raised

updated 10/11/2005 2:17:26 PM ET 2005-10-11T18:17:26

The anchor of King Henry VIII's ill-fated flagship, the nearly 500-year-old Mary Rose, was raised from the sea Tuesday looking corroded and strewn with seaweed, but otherwise intact.

Four hundred and fifty years after the Tudor warship sank off Portsmouth in southern England, archaeologists used a winch to lift the 12.5-foot-long (3.8-meter-long) iron anchor from the seabed. Divers also raised part of the Mary Rose's front section — the stem timber of the bow.

Britain's Prince Charles, who is president of the Mary Rose Trust, sent a message of support to the archaeological team.

"The major timbers from the bow will allow both architects and visitors to understand far better the structure of the Mary Rose, this sole survivor from the Tudor Navy," he said. "The mighty anchor is a visible sign of our maritime heritage and looks to be in remarkable condition."

The Mary Rose, completed in 1511, was the pride of Henry VIII's navy. But she sank on July 19, 1545, with the loss of hundreds of lives after a skirmish with French ships. There are conflicting theories as to why she went down, but experts suggest the crew likely made a handling error in the heat of the skirmish, causing water to enter through the gunports.

The hull of the 700-ton, 105-foot-long (32-meter-long) galley was raised from the silt of the Solent — the area of water between Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight — in 1982. Archaeologists say it is the only 16th-century warship on display anywhere in the world.

But in recent years divers began revisiting the remainder of the wreck after the Ministry of Defense said it planned to deepen the channels to Portsmouth naval base along a route that passes over the Mary Rose. The ministry has since picked another route.

The anchor and stem timber will go on display in a museum to be built over the hull, which sits in a dry dock in Portsmouth.

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