NEWPORT RI, A team of marine archaeologists, scientists and volunteers continued their methodical work mapping shipwrecks in Newport Harbor last month in an ongoing effort to find and positively identify Capt. Cook’s famous vessel, the HM Bark Endeavor.
Eighteenth Century British Explorer Capt. James Cook explored more of the world than any man who ever lived and many researchers believe the Endeavor, his most-famous vessel, is among a fleet of 13 British transport ships sunk during the Revolutionary War in Newport Harbor.
When the vessel is believed to have been sunk in 1778, it by then had changed hands and was known as The Lord Sandwich. During a five day fieldwork exercise in September, members of the Rhode Island Marine Archaeology Project and the Australian National Maritime Museum mapped the ninth shipwreck site and completed a pre-disturbance site map of an 18th century ballast pile.
To find the Endeavor, researchers must find and map all the 18th century shipwreck sites that still exist in Newport Harbor and “only then will the detailed work begin that may identify which site is which ship,” said Dr. Kathy Abbass, RIMAP director.
The most-recently mapped site was found in the fall of 2014 and “now that we have mapped it,” Abbass said, “we have nine ships of the thirteen in our database. Although it will take many years to prove it, we now have a 69 percent change that we have already located the Lord Sandwich ex. Endeavor.”
The Australians have a keen interest in finding the Endeavor as it’s considered the continent’s founding vessel. Cook was the first to explore Australia after he arrived there in 1770.
The Endeavor’s resting place among the shipwrecks was first announced as a possibility more than 15 years ago, but it is only recently that RIMAP’s painstaking work has begun to attract national interest.
RIMAP released details from an exhaustive study last year detailing eight sights, which prompted ANMM officials to call for a meeting here in Rhode Island. The collaboration has helped put divers in the water but the project continues to depend on donations to stay afloat, Abbass said.
“Our work is based on public interest and volunteer support, so funding will determine how quickly the next phase of the research will progress.”
Courtesy: Newport Patch
“Treasure – If it’s out there, we’re going to find it!” (Tommy Vawter)
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