Mary Rose Welsh archer face reconstructed by Swansea experts

A 3D scan of the skull and a reconstruction of the man's face
Image caption A 3D scan of the skull allowed the face to be reconstructed muscle by muscle

Swansea University researchers have revealed how they reconstructed the face of an archer who drowned on the Mary Rose more than 500 years ago.

They used a 3D printer and a Swedish expert in police-standard facial reconstruction skills to reveal how one of Henry VIII's elite troops looked.

England's world famous Tudor war ship sank off Portsmouth in 1545, and was raised from the seabed in 1982.

The archer's skull was one of 10 taken to Swansea for analysis.

The reconstructed face is on display in the new Mary Rose Museum in Portsmouth.

The skull had been scanned by laser to create a 3D computer-generated image that was then made real using a 3D printer that took took 48 hours to create it.

Facial reconstruction expert Oscar Nilsson had used the archer's skull as the base for rebuilding the man's face using techniques more familiar in police inquiries into unidentified bodies.

The project was led by Nick Owen, a sport and exercise biomechanist at the university's College of Engineering.

'Hidden from history'

He said: "This is a face of an ordinary man, albeit in a crack regiment, and he hasn't been seen for almost 500 years.

"Thanks to 21st Century technology and expertise, we can bring him vividly back to life, and understand more about his world.

"Archers were the only professional soldiers of their day. So it is very likely that this is the face of one of Henry VIII's elite troops. We also know that many of Henry's archers came from Wales.

"What's so exciting is that we can reveal the face of a man who has been hidden from history.

"We wouldn't have portraits of him, as we do for wealthy and powerful people from the past."

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