Mysterious Shipwreck of Captain Cook’s ‘Endeavour’ Possibly Discovered in Rhode Island

Marine archaeologists may have found the shipwreck of the HMS Endeavour, the boat Capt. James Cook used to sail to Australia in the 1700’s. (Photo Credit: John Cassese / RIMAP 2019)

Marine archaeologists are exploring a mysterious shipwreck in Rhode Island that may be the HMS Endeavour, the vessel Capt. James Cook and his crew reportedly used to travel to Australia in the 1700’s.

The HMS Endeavour, which was eventually renamed Lord Sandwich, was one of 13 ships that were sunk in Newport Harbor, Rhode Island, in 1778, Fox News reported. According to the Rhode Island Marine Archaeology Project (RIMAP), Lord Sandwich was used to ferry troops during the American Revolutionary War.

A 3D image of some of the shipwreck’s exposed timbers. (Photo Credit: James Hunter et al. / RIMAP 2019)

RIMAP and its partners, the Australian National Maritime Museum (ANMM) and SilentWorld Foundation (SWF), recently announced the results of their current Newport Harbor shipwreck studies in Newport, Rhode Island. ANMM archaeologist Dr. James Hunter presented 3D images of some of the shipwreck’s exposed timbers and 3D scanning data of the wreck was also shared at the event.

An exposed sheave at the shipwreck site in Newport, Rhode Island. (Photo Credit: John Cassese / RIMAP 2019)

“The excavation exposed artifacts and ship’s structure to confirm that this site is an 18th-century shipwreck,” RIMAP said in a press release. “The excavation exposed artifacts and samples, including sheaves, and other wood fragments, bits of leather, textiles, glass, and ceramics, samples of coal and charcoal, ballast, and worked stone including gun flints. None of this is immediately diagnostic of which ship this site could be.”

RIMAP said more work will need to be conducted to confirm that this strange shipwreck is actually Capt. Cook’s famous boat that he sailed to Australia.

“Although this site still looks promising, there is still no hard evidence that it is the Endeavour,” RIMAP explained. “But more importantly, there is nothing to say that it is one of the other vessels that was part of the Newport fleet of transports and victuallers that were scuttled nearby in Newport’s Outer Harbor in 1778.”

Part of a barrel head at the shipwreck site. (Photo Credit: John Cassese / RIMAP 2019)

According to RIMAP, future data analysis of the shipwreck’s findings will take place in the RIMAP lab at Herreshoff Marine Museum in Bristol, Rhode Island, to determine if this site is the HMS Endeavour.

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