In Tudor times, wood was a very important material. It was used for everything from building houses and ships to making barrels and boxes. It was also the most important source of fuel for heating and cooking.
Ships were generally built of oak. Lots of oak trees were needed to make the different timbers used in a ship. Choosing the right trees could be difficult; they were selected for the shape of timbers that could be cut from them. About 600 trees were needed to build the Mary Rose!
Even the best shipwrights left gaps between the planks, which had to be filled to prevent leaks. Filling the gaps is called “caulking”. On the Mary Rose, horse hair and bits of rope were hammered into the gaps, and coated with pitch to plug the gaps.
We found a cauldron full of pitch ready to be heated up in the hold of the Mary Rose, so the carpenter could make repairs at sea. There were also barrels full of pitch in the hold.