Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Has Cook's Endeavour Been Found?

That plucky little collier Endeavour, sailed by Captain James Cook during his great voyage of exploration of 1768- 1771, may have been located.
Researchers in the US believe they may be a step closer to locating the ship. The Rhode Island Marine Archaeology Project (RIMAP) has known for some time the ship was scuttled in Newport Harbour, off the US coast, in 1778. But they now believe they have narrowed down the search to a cluster of five shipwrecks on the seafloor.
The researchers plan to investigate the ships and their artefacts further. They are also appealing for funds to build the right facilities for handling and storing items retrieved from the sea.
RIMAP: "All of the 13 ships lost in Newport during the (American) Revolution are important to US history, but it will be a national celebration in both NZ and Australia when RIMAP identifies Endeavour."
Capt Cook set sail on Endeavour - a British-built coal ship originally called Earl of Pembroke - in 1768 on a scientific voyage to map the Pacific Ocean. In 1769, he spent six months charting the NZ coastline,
and making the first European contacts with natives. (His visit is commemorated on the NZ 50c coin.) He reached Australia in 1770, claiming that for England too.
After returning to Britain, Endeavour was renamed Lord Sandwich and made a troop carrier. During the American War of Independence, it was scuttled by the British Navy in a blockade.
The wreckage has never been found, but RIMAP has been checking out 13 sunken ships, with the help of remote sensing equipment and historical documents. It says an analysis of data suggests there is "an 80-100% chance" that the Lord Sandwich wreckage is still in Newport Harbour, "and because the Lord Sandwich was Capt Cook's Endeavour, that means RIMAP has found her too."
The announcement coincides with the 240th anniversary of Rhode Island declaring independence from the UK. RIMAP says identifying "one of the most important shipwrecks in world history would be "an intriguing birthday gift for all of Rhode Island"...and an important historical link to NZ and Oz too.
"HMS Endeavour": John Charles Allcot (1888-1973)

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