Margaret Rule

Margaret Helen Rule, CBE (27 September 1928 – 9 April 2015) was a British archaeologist.[1] She led the project that excavated and raised the Tudor warship Mary Rose in 1982.[2][3][4]

Margaret Rule
Margaret Helen Martin

27 September 1928
Died9 April 2015(2015-04-09) (aged 86)
Alma materUniversity of London
Scientific career
Fieldsmaritime archaeology

Early life

Rule, née Martin, was born in Buckinghamshire on 27 September 1928. She studied chemistry at the University of London.[5]


She was the curator of the Fishbourne Roman Palace, when she began her work in maritime archaeology when she was consulted on the initial search for the wreck of Mary Rose.

In March 1982 Margaret Rule visited Adelaide, South Australia, as the keynote speaker to the Second Southern Hemisphere Conference on Maritime Archaeology. During the Conference she visited the historic Murray River port of Morgan and dived with members of the Society for Underwater Historical Research (SUHR) on a project to record and recover items from the riverbed alongside the town's massive wharf.[6][7]

Later life

Rule had been living with Parkinson's disease and arthritis in her later years.[8] She died on 9 April 2015, aged 86.[9]


  • British Sub Aqua Club – 'Tributes paid to Dr Margaret Rule, lead archaeologist of the Mary Rose' Monday 13 April 2015
  • Isabel Berwick, Financial Times – 'Margaret Rule, archaeologist, 1928–2015' Friday 17 April 2015
  • Peter Marsden, The Guardian – 'Archaeologist responsible for raising the wreck of the Mary Rose, Henry VIII’s flagship, from the seabed' Thursday 16 April 2015
  • Matthew Bannister, Last Word, BBC Radio 4 – 'Margaret Rule was the archaeologist who supervised the raising of Henry VIII's flagship, the Mary Rose from the seabed under the waters of the Solent' Friday 24 April 2015
  • Rosemary E Lunn, X-Ray Magazine – 'Margaret Rule 1928 – 2015' Friday 29 April 2015


She was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire. In 1995, the National Maritime Museum awarded her its Caird Medal. In 2001 the University of Portsmouth named a new 342 bed student accommodation block Margaret Rule Hall after her. In 2008, she was awarded the Colin Mcleod Award for "Furthering international co-operation in diving" by the British Sub Aqua Club.[10]


  • Down, Alec; Rule, Margaret (1971). Chichester Excavations. Chichester, West Sussex: Chichester Civic Society Excavations Committee. ISBN 0950143804.
  • Rule, Margaret (1974). Floor Mosaics in Roman Britain. London: Macmillan / Sussex Archaeological Trust. ISBN 0333148282.
  • Rule, Margaret (1977). Fishbourne Roman Palace. Sussex: Sussex Archaeological Society.
  • Rule, Margaret (1982). The Mary Rose: the Excavation and Raising of Henry VIII's Flagship. Leicester: Windward. ISBN 0711203164.
  • Rule, Margaret; Monaghan, Jason (1993). A Gallo-Roman Trading Vessel from Guernsey: The Excavation and Recovery of a Third Century Shipwreck. Guernsey: Guernsey Museums & Galleries. ISBN 1871560039.
  • Contributor to: May, Eric; Jones, Mark, eds. (2006). Conservation Science: Heritage Materials. Cambridge, UK: RSC Publishing. ISBN 0854046593.


  1. 'World Whos Who of Women' 1992–93, Volume 11, Taylor & Francis (1992)
  2. "Mary Rose memories: Margaret Rule". BBC News. 29 May 2013. Retrieved 30 May 2013.
  3. Eaton, B (7 October 1982). "HMS Mary Rose – A Tudor treasure trove". New Scientist. 96: 8–11.
  4. Worman, Robin (5 October 2007). "Mary Rose memories". BBC Hampshire. Retrieved 30 May 2013.
  5. "Margaret Rule". The Times. 17 April 2015. Retrieved 19 April 2015.
  6. Marfleet, Brian, (2006), The Morgan Project: Volume 1 – Progress, Newsletter & Annual Reports (1977–1983), Port Adelaide, SA, Society for Underwater Historical Research, (ISBN 0 9588006 3 4), pp. 92 & 107.
  7. Marfleet, Brian, (2006), The Morgan Project: Volume 2 – The Final Report (1989), Port Adelaide, SA, Society for Underwater Historical Research, (ISBN 0 9588006 4 2), pp.32, 42, 45 & 52.
  8. "Mary Rose lead archaeologist Margaret Rule dies". BBC News. 11 April 2015. Retrieved 19 April 2015.
  10. "Colin Mcleod Award". British Sub Aqua Club. Archived from the original on 22 February 2014. Retrieved 22 February 2013.
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