Analytical science: Secrets of the Mary Rose
Analytical science: Secrets of the Mary Rose

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Analytical science: Secrets of the Mary Rose

4.3 Determining the on-board diet

There was no evidence from observation of the bone shapes that the sailors died of anything other than drowning; however, they may have had conditions in childhood or adulthood which would have left their marks on the skeleton. Many of the men were found to have had a condition called 'os acromiale' where the shoulder blade has not fully fused together. This is thought to result from the persistent use, since childhood, of longbows in training and battle. The bones also reflected one of the most common problems associated with a life at sea in those times: rickets (in adolescents, or osteomalacia in adults), caused by vitamin D deficiency and leading to weak and deformed bones. There were no faecal remains available from which to ascertain the crewmen's diet and their final meal(s) that may have confirmed whether these health conditions were due to a seafaring life.

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