Mary Rose treasure hunt

Year 8 students from Crofton School in Stubbington.
Year 8 students from Crofton School in Stubbington.

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BUDDING scientists were given the chance to explore how their school studies in the lab could be used to uncover the hidden treasures of historical artefacts like such as the Mary Rose.

The keen 12 and 13-year-olds from Crofton School in Stubbington visited the Mary Rose Trust in Portsmouth’s Historic Dockyard and learned about how fundamental principles of science enabled underwater exploration of King Henry VIII’s favourite ship that sank off Southsea in 1545.

Professor Mark Jones, the Trust’s head of collections, led a number of practical experiments.

These demonstrated the principles of buoyancy and diving that are fundamental to analysing artefacts discovered underwater.

He says: ‘We have individuals with a range of skills in our team, some from historical and archaeological backgrounds.

‘But we are all passionate about encouraging children to value science.’

Clare Barnes, learning officer for the Trust, says: ‘We always encourage visits from schools.

‘Mary Rose is a Portsmouth ship – she was built, sank and raised here – and these special sessions are a great opportunity for local children to see the cutting edge science that goes on behind the scenes at the museum.’

The event was organised as part of the government-funded Aim Higher scheme that seeks to promote the importance of science and the careers it can offer pupils making decisions about exams and life after school.

Portsmouth and South East Hampshire’s Education Business Partnership (EBP) arranged the visit to The Mary Rose Trust for the group of Year Eight pupils from Crofton School.

Chris Brown, deputy faculty leader of science at the school, says: ‘Experiences such as these give practical applications to the science we teach in school, very much bringing it to life.

‘We informed our students of a possible trip to see who was interested and the response was very positive and enthusiastic, so the EBP arranged it for us.’

Lucy Tillotson, specialist schools co-ordinator at Crofton, adds: ‘Science is one of our specialisms, so we always take advantage of opportunities such as these.

‘We work closely with the EBP and are grateful to them for setting this up. Our students have had a great time.’