The secrets of the Mary Rose could be revealed in a project it is hoped will help speed up scientific research.
For the first time detailed images of skulls found on Henry VIII’s warship have been released to a worldwide audience, giving a glimpse into life on the tragic ship.
The ship sank in 1545 during the Battle of the Solent and was recovered from the sea bed 34 years ago.
It was found to contain thousands of bones, many giving clues to around 460 people on board who perished.
Following painstaking work by scientists at Swansea University, who took more than 1,000 detailed images of 10 skulls from the ship, other researchers across the globe will be able to view and analyse the bones.
The digital project will also give members of the public the chance to view a 3D image of the skull belonging to the ship’s carpenter, as well as the multitude of tools discovered in his workshop.
Dr Alex Hildred, head of research and curator of human remains of the Mary Rose Trust said: “Excavating the cabin was like stepping into a deserted workshop - tools in baskets beneath a work-bench, half-finished projects, wood off-cuts - even the Carpenter’s backgammon set.
“Finding one of the carpenter’s second set of tools on the deck below allows us to look into the face of one of the most important members of the crew; and the ship comes alive.”
The project could support the notion that photogrammetry - the reconstruction of lots of detailed 2D pictures to create a 3D image - is an effective research tool allowing scientists to examine images without having to have the bones in their hands, the university’s Dr Richard Johnston said.
The materials scientist and engineer said: “This technology, and the appetite of museums and researchers to open their collections to larger global communities, including the public, can have huge implications for both the investigations that can take place, and speed that science is done. It also opens valuable resources to researchers from diverse backgrounds.”
The images are available to view at www.virtualtudors.org.