Captain Cook’s HMS Endeavour might have just been found – 250 years after it departed Plymouth

The wreck of Captain Cook’s famous ship Endeavour may potentially have been discovered off the east coast of America almost 250 years after it departed from Plymouth.

Marine archaeologists believe they may have found the final location of the vessel used by the explorer to reach Australia in 1770.

The Rhode Island Marine Archaeology Project (RIMAP) has been attempting to find the vessel and believe it may have been found in Newport Harbour.

It is the 250th anniversary of James Cook’s departure from England in the Endeavour and 2020 will be the anniversary of his claim on Australia for Britain in 1770.

After Cook’s voyage to Australia and New Zealand, the ship went on to be used by the British Royal Navy in the US war of independence. It was scuttled with other vessels off Newport, Rhode Island in 1778.

Captain James Cook (Image: Hulton Archive)

Kathy Abbass, director of the Rhode Island Marine Archaeology Project, told Australia’s Fairfax Media: “We can say we think we know which one it is.

“It is exciting, we are closing in.

“This is a vessel that is significant to people around the world, including Australia.”

Dr Abbass said she was hopeful the ship could be excavated next year, in time for the April 2020 celebrations marking 250 years since Cook’s arrival at Botany Bay.

She said the identity of the ship will only be definitively proven after its excavation, which will require significant funding.

Details about the condition of the vessel, which has been underwater for over 200 years, have not yet been disclosed.

The potential discovery could lead to a dispute over where the wreckage should be housed, given its significance to the UK, US, Australia and New Zealand.

It follows a 25-year search by marine archaeologists, who have narrowed their focus from 13 possible vessels to five. They have now identified one potential site which could be the Endeavour.

The discovery of the ship (replica pictured) has stirred hope that the remains could be excavated in time for the 250th anniversary of Captain Cook’s arrival in Australia (Image: BBC)

The search for the Endeavour is a joint project between RIMAP and the Australian National Maritime Museum.

A statement on RIMAP’s website said: “Now that RIMAP and the ANMM have identified a possible site in Newport Harbour that might be the Lord Sandwich ex Endeavour, the detailed work must begin to prove it.

“Therefore, fundraising is ongoing for the artefact management facility needed to process, store, and display the artefacts that will emerge from the planned 2019 excavation.”

A full formal announcement about the discovery is due to be made on Friday by RIMAP.

Earlier this year a replica of HMS Endeavour, also known as HM Bark Endeavour, was moved from Stockton riverside to Whitby, where it will operate as a tourist attraction.

Story by PlymouthLIVE

Comments are closed.

This article was written and/or edited by the UK-based MIN team.

Skip to content