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Raising the Mary Rose - IELTS Reading Passage With Questions & Answers

Updated on 08 February, 2024

upGrad Abroad Team

upGrad Abroad Team

upGrad abroad Editorial Team


The story of the Mary Rose is a fascinating blend of history, archaeology, and engineering. This article is designed to help IELTS candidates practice their reading comprehension skills with a passage that recounts the remarkable recovery of the Mary Rose, King Henry VIII's warship, from the depths of the Solent in Southern England. Following the passage, you will find a series of questions and answers that not only test your understanding but also provide explanations to enhance your learning experience.


In 1982, the world watched in awe as the Mary Rose, a Tudor warship that sank in 1545, was raised from the seabed after lying dormant for over 400 years. The Mary Rose was King Henry VIII’s flagship, pride of the English fleet, and its sinking during a battle with the French fleet was a tragedy that resonated through the ages.

The recovery of the Mary Rose was an endeavor that combined the skills of historians, archaeologists, and marine engineers. It was a delicate operation that required innovative solutions to challenges that had never been encountered before. Special cradles had to be designed to lift the fragile remains without causing further damage. Divers spent countless hours underwater, carefully excavating and documenting the site, working in conditions with near-zero visibility.

As the Mary Rose emerged from the water, it brought with it not just the timbers of a ship but a time capsule filled with over 19,000 artifacts. These items provided an unprecedented look into Tudor military and daily life, with weapons, navigational instruments, and even the personal belongings of the crew being meticulously preserved by the silt of the seabed.

The ship is now the centerpiece of the Mary Rose Museum in Portsmouth, where it continues to be a subject of study and admiration, a testament to the ingenuity of the past and present.

Questions & Answers:

Q1: What was the Mary Rose?

A. A merchant ship

B. A Tudor warship

C. A Viking longboat

D. A pirate vessel

A1: B. A Tudor warship

Explanation: The passage specifies that the Mary Rose was King Henry VIII’s flagship and part of the English fleet, indicating it was a warship.

Q2: How long was the Mary Rose underwater before it was raised?

A. Over 300 years

B. Over 400 years

C. Over 500 years

D. Over 600 years

A2: B. Over 400 years

Explanation: The passage states that the Mary Rose lay dormant for over 400 years since it sank in 1545 and was raised in 1982.

Q3: Fill in the blank: The recovery of the Mary Rose required the collaboration of historians, archaeologists, and ________.

A3: marine engineers

Explanation: The passage mentions that marine engineers, along with historians and archaeologists, were instrumental in the recovery operation.

Q4: True or False: Visibility was excellent during the excavation of the Mary Rose.

A4: False

Explanation: The passage indicates that divers worked in conditions with near-zero visibility, suggesting that visibility was, in fact, quite poor.

Q5: How many artifacts were recovered with the Mary Rose?

A. Over 9,000

B. Over 15,000

C. Over 19,000

D. Over 25,000

A5: C. Over 19,000

Explanation: The passage provides the specific detail of over 19,000 artifacts being found with the ship.

Q6: Where can the Mary Rose be seen today?

A. The British Museum

B. The Mary Rose Museum in Portsmouth

C. The Smithsonian Institution

D. The Louvre

A6: B. The Mary Rose Museum in Portsmouth

Explanation: The passage mentions that the Mary Rose is the centerpiece of the Mary Rose Museum in Portsmouth.

Q7: True or False: The Mary Rose sank during a peaceful maritime expedition.

A7: False

Explanation: The passage clearly states that the Mary Rose sank during a battle with the French fleet, indicating it was not a peaceful time.

Q8: What did the artifacts found with the Mary Rose provide?

A. Evidence of piracy

B. A look into Viking culture

C. An unprecedented look into Tudor military and daily life

D. Insights into marine biology

A8: C. An unprecedented look into Tudor military and daily life

Explanation: The passage explains that the artifacts gave insights into the military and everyday life of the Tudor period.

Q9: Fill in the blank: The raising of the Mary Rose was watched by ________ around the world.

A9: the world

Explanation: The introductory sentence of the passage mentions that the world watched as the Mary Rose was raised, indicating a global audience.

Q10: What was a major challenge during the recovery of the Mary Rose?

A. Designing special cradles for the lift

B. Translating ancient languages

C. Avoiding modern ship traffic

D. Funding the project

A10: A. Designing special cradles for the lift

Explanation: The passage describes the need for special cradles to lift the fragile remains as a significant challenge during the operation.

IELTS Reading Tips Customized to the Topic:

Tip 1: Understand Key Historical Terms - Familiarize yourself with vocabulary related to archaeology and history, as such terms are common in IELTS passages dealing with historical topics.

Tip 2: Focus on Details - Pay close attention to numbers, dates, and specific facts, as questions often focus on these details.

Tip 3: Practice Skimming and Scanning - Develop the ability to quickly identify the main idea of each paragraph and locate specific information.

Tip 4: Use Context Clues - If you encounter an unfamiliar word, use the surrounding text to infer its meaning.

Tip 5: Check Your Answers - Make sure your answers are accurate and complete; even a partially correct answer is marked wrong.

By integrating these strategies into your IELTS reading practice, especially when dealing with passages about historical recoveries or operations, you will enhance your ability to understand and retain information, increasing your chances of a higher score.

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upGrad Abroad Team

upGrad abroad Editorial Team

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The above tips are the Author's experiences. upGrad does not guarantee scores or admissions.