Captain Cook's 'Endeavour' may have been found off US coast

Hunt for famed 'Endeavour' ship could be nearing an end

The Rhode Island Marine Archaeology Project began to try to map and identify those remains starting in the early 1990s, and eventually figured out that the Lord Sandwich was the same ship as the HMS Endeavour.

United States and Australian archaeologists hunting for Captain Cook's HMS Endeavour may have finally discovered its location on the east coast of America.

Peter Dexler, chair of the Australian National Maritime Museum, will attend the event unveiling the location on Friday, along with Australian consul general Alaistair Walton, according to CNN affiliate 9 News. The Rhode Island Historical Preservation and Heritage Commission is now the custodian of the shipwrecks.

"We can say we think we know which one it is", Kathy Abbass, director of RIMAP, told Fairfax Media, speaking ahead of the official update.

If the discovery of the Endeavour is confirmed, it will likely set off a bout of diplomatic wrangling over which country gets to keep and display the remains of the ship, if it can be safely retrieved and transported. She met her end in 1778, when she was intentionally sunk as part of a blockade against American-allied French warships off Newport, Rhode Island. They made it to Tahiti in April 1769, in time to document the Venus Transit, and pressed on, mapping and exploring New Zealand and various Pacific islands along the way.

More than two centuries ago, the British Royal Navy purchased a 4-year-old merchant ship with a flat-bottomed hull that was ideal for transporting cargo.

The discovery of the Endeavour comes as Australia is preparing for the 250th anniversary of its landing. "It is exciting. We are closing in".

"In a statement on their website, RIMAP said: "[we have] identified a possible site in Newport Harbour that might be the Lord Sandwich ex Endeavour".

It should be noted that this ship, despite its impressive "career" (around the world cook and the expedition to the shores of Australia and New Zealand), was later "reduced in rank" and became a freighter.

To Australians, however, the Endeavour was the ship sailed by Lieutenant (later Captain) Cook along the east coast of Australia to the northernmost tip of Cape York Peninsula where, on August 22, 1770, he raised the British flag and declared he was taking possession, in the name of Britain's King George III, of the whole eastern coast of what he called New South Wales.

There were 13 potential vessels that could have been the Endeavour but after extensive mapping the search has recently narrowed to possibly "one or two archaeological sites", RIMAP said in a press release.



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