Possible site of HMB Endeavour wreck found off USA coast

Elias Hubbard
September 21, 2018

Now, marine archaeologists believe they may have identified the long-sought wreck, beneath the waves of a busy US harbor in Rhode Island.

During the American War of Independence it was scuttled by the British Navy with the 12 other ships to form a blockade of the Narragansett Bay.

The Endeavour entered popular folklore because Captain Cook's voyages brought the British into contact with New Zealand and eastern Australia, foreshadowing the colonisation of the continent.

The centuries-long search for the Endeavour has been narrowed down to just a couple of sites after a 25-year search. Marine archaeologists are expected to announce that they have found the 250-year-old ship, finally solving the enigma of the final resting place of the Endeavour.

"It is exciting, we are closing in", RIMAP director Kathy Abbass said.

Australia, New Zealand, the USA and United Kingdom could also feasibly lay claim to the Endeavour on the grounds that it is historically significant to their country.

The HMS Endeavour landed on Australia's east coast and was used to circumnavigate the globe from 1768-71.

Like Columbus, Cook left a deep impression on the lands he explored, with towns, islands, mountains, rivers and a university named for him.

On its return to England, the Endeavour was sold into private hands in 1775, and renamed as the Lord Sandwich.

A replica of Captain Cook's ship "Endeavour" is seen at the Australian National Maritime Museum in Sydney on September 19, 2018.

"Now that RIMAP [Rhode Island Marine Archaeology Project] and the ANMM [Australian National Maritime Museum] have identified a possible site in Newport Harbor that might be the Lord Sandwich ex Endeavour, the detailed work must begin to prove it", said Abbass in a statement on the group's website. The scuttled ships' masts protruded from Newport Harbor's shallow waters and served as a barrier to approaching vessels.

"The ships are a jumble of timbers and stone ballast".

Sumption said that at the moment they don't have definitive proof.

- For Cook's voyage Endeavour carried 94 people, was fitted out with cannon and had aboard pigs, poultry and a milking goat.

"Basically what we know is the size of the Endeavour hull [and] a ship of that type uses certain dimensions of timber", he told the Guardian.

Investigators will also look for evidence that the wreck belongs to a prison ship-the last usage of the Endeavour was for carrying prisoners of war.

While final confirmation could come in time for the 250th anniversary of the arrival of the Endeavour in Australia, in 2020, it's very unlikely the wreck would be in any condition to make the final return journey to Australia. "It'll be bits of wood and vessel that might be recovered". While the ship is considered a vital artifact of Australian history, the state of Rhode Island claimed ownership of all of the sunken ships in 1999, and they are overseen by the Rhode Island Historical Preservation and Heritage Commission.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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