Has Capt. Cook's 'Endeavour' Been Found? Sept 19, 2018 20:03:18 GMT -5
Post by Joanna on Sept 19, 2018 20:03:18 GMT -5
Has Capt. Cook's Endeavour Been Found?
The hunt for the final resting place of Captain James Cook’s HMS Endeavour may soon be over. Endeavour, then known as Lord Sandwich II, was sunk with 12 other ships off Rhode Island in August 1778, but no one was sure where. Now, following a 25-year archaeological study of the area, the search has been narrowed to just “one or two” sites. Experts are hopeful it will be definitively identified by 2020. This would be just in time for the anniversary of Captain Cook’s arrival in Australia following a two-year voyage of discovery, which initially set out from Plymouth, England.
The Rhode Island Marine Archaeology Project (RIMAP), which has been working with the Australian National Maritime Museum (ANMM), said it would release a “3-D photogrammetric image of a promising site” Friday, September 21.
But it will still be some time before the true identity of the wreck is revealed. Work will be completed during a planned excavation of the area, just off Goat Island, in 2019. “We’re not in a position to identify it conclusively,” RIMAP’s Kathy Aththas said. Once excavated, it will require sampling, testing of the type of wood and nails and analysis which won’t give us a definitive answer for another 18 months.”
Capt. Cook set sail on Endeavour – a British-built coal ship – in 1768 on a scientific voyage to map the Pacific Ocean. It was the ship on which the explorer charted New Zealand and Australia between 1769 and 1771. He arrived off the southeastern coast of what is now Australia in 1770, eventually making landfall at Botany Bay. The region, which was inhabited by indigenous people, was claimed for the British crown.
After sailing back to Britain, Endeavour was renamed Lord Sandwich II and turned into a troop-carrier. During the American Revolution, Lord Sandwich II sailed for Rhode Island and became a ship for American prisoners. By the summer of 1778, however, the French had joined the war as allies of the Americans. Newport was about to be caught in a pincer movement – the American Continental Army from the land and the French from the sea. The British scuttled a number of ships at the mouth of the bay as a blockade against the French navy. On August 4, 1778, Lord Sandwich II and 12 other British vessels sank beneath the waters of Newport Harbor and the former Endeavour was lost to history.
Sources: BBC News, September 19, 2018, and Ken James, The Jamestown Press, February 16, 2012..