Is it the Endeavour? RIMAP to announce most recent search results on September 8th

The search is on for the Endeavour in Newport Harbor. (Photo of HM Bark Endeavour Replica at the Australian Maritime Museum in Sydney, Australia)

The Rhode Island Marine Archaeology Project (RIMAP) and its partners the Australian National Maritime Museum (ANMM) and SilentWorld Foundation (SWF) have announced that they will announce the results of their current Newport Harbor shipwreck search for Captain Cook’s Endeavour at a public event at Gurney’s Newport Resort & Marina on Sunday, September 8th at 3 pm.

UPDATE – RIMAP provides update on search for Endeavour

According to RIMAP, the recent research included excavations to locate diagnostic features of the ship’s structure, and was designed to determine if this vessel may be the  Lord Sandwich transport, scuttled in Newport in 1778, the ship that earlier had been the Endeavour Bark of Capt. James Cook’s first circumnavigation of 1768-1771.

Throughout the excavation, the public has been able to observe the conservation team as it conducted the preliminary documentation of the retrieved artifacts and samples at the temporary triage location on the grounds of Gurney’s Resort. Weather permitting, the triage tent will continue to be open to the public through Sunday Sept. 8, but if the impending storm delays the excavation, that effort may continue into the following week, according to RIMAP.

“Thirteen RIMAP-trained volunteers joined eight professional archaeologists from the United States and Australia to conduct the excavations and manage the artifact and samples,” RIMAP states in a press release. “The dive team opened a narrow 3-foot-wide trench across the eastern side of the Newport Harbor site to determine the general shape of the ship’s hull. The Endeavour was a flat-bottomed collier designed to carry coal along the east coast of England, and she was selected for the expedition because of her capacity to carry Cook and his crew, Joseph Banks and his scientists, plus all the supplies and equipment needed for their three year voyage. The team opened another narrow trench along the keel/keelson assembly to locate potential features that are consistent with what is known of the Endeavour‘s original construction and repairs made during her later uses”.

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RIMAP continues, “The artifact management team working at the triage location on Goat Island identified the retrieved materials as sheaves and other bits of rigging, coal and charcoal, ballast and worked stone including gun flints, plus wood fragments, bits of leather, textiles, glass, and ceramics. All of this material will undergo professional conservation at the newly-established facility at the Herreshoff Marine Museum in Bristol, but it is all consistent with coming from an 18th-century vessel. Although artifacts clearly associated with James Cook would be an exciting way to prove the ship’s identity as the Endeavour, materials associated with the vessel’s later use as the Lord Sandwich transport are more likely to be present. Therefore, if the preponderance of evidence suggests that this is the Lord Sandwich, and especially if there is no evidence suggests that she could be another of ships scuttled together in 1778, then the team has identified the Lord Sandwich. And since the Lord Sandwich had been the Endeavour, then Cook’s iconic vessel is found”.

At the event, Archaeological team members will describe how the excavation has been executed and how the artifacts and samples have been managed. A short video of the work will show the challenges of diving in Newport Harbor, and 3-D photogrammetric images of the newly exposed wooden timbers clearly show some of the ship’s construction details. Artifacts and samples will be displayed.

Kevin Sumption, PSM, Director of the Australian National Maritime Museum, will discuss the importance of the excavation, what Endeavour and Capt. Cook mean to Australia, and how the museum will feature this research as part of the 250th anniversary remembrance of Cook’s exploration of Australia’s east coast.

According to RIMAP, Representative Joseph McNamara (D – District 19 Cranston, Warwick) will give greetings for the State of Rhode Island, and will recognize the cooperation between the partners that have conducted the ongoing investigations of the Newport transport fleet and the search for the Endeavour.    

The September 8 event to announce “Is it Endeavour?” is free and open to the public. For further information, visit the website: rimap.org.


More On The Search For Endeavour

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