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Deep sea divers double down on claim shipwreck off Rhode Island IS Captain Cook’s HMS Endeavour saying new findings of a pump well and bow are PROOF it’s legendary vessel – despite US officials maintaining it isn’t

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Maritime scientists have doubled down on claims a shipwreck off the US coast is Captain Cook’s HMS Endeavour, one of the most famous ships in naval history.

A pump well and section of the wreck’s bow further provide evidence as to the identity of the ship, the Australian National Maritime Museum said on Thursday.

The museum first declared the wreck, located in Newport Harbor, Rhode Island, was the Endeavour in February 2022 following decades of archaeological examination.

But those claims have been shot down by American experts also examining the ship, who said that despite finds ‘consistent with what might be expected of the Endeavour’ there was not yet indisputable data to support the claim.

Rhode Island Marine Archaeology Project executive director Kathy Abbass said a ‘legitimate report’ on the wreck’s identity would be released when the group’s study was complete.

Australian maritime scientists are doubling down on claims a shipwreck off the US coast is Captain Cook’s HMS Endeavour, one of the most famous ships in naval history

The HMS Endeavour is one of the most famous ships in naval history and was used for Captain Cook's discovery of the East Coast of Australia in 1770

The HMS Endeavour is one of the most famous ships in naval history and was used for Captain Cook’s discovery of the East Coast of Australia in 1770

But the museum said there had been no further dissenting responses to its claims that the vessel was the Endeavour in the past two years.

Several details on the wreck convinced archaeologists they had found Endeavour after matching structural details and the shape of the remains to those on 18th century plans of the ship.

Just 15 per cent of the vessel remains, with researchers now focused on what can be done to protect and preserve it.

The HMS Endeavour was launched in 1764 as the Earl of Pembroke, and then renamed His Majesty’s Bark the Endeavour after it was purchased four years later by the British Royal Navy.

The vessel was sent out to explore the Pacific Ocean in August 1768 both to observe the 1769 transit of Venus across the sun, and search for the continent which was then called Terra Australis Incognita, or unknown Southern land.

The previous transit of Venus in 1639 had provided a vast amount of the information astronomers and scientists had about the size of the solar system and universe.

The ship departed from Plymouth with 94 people on board, including Captain James Cook.

After traveling down the coast of Africa before cutting across the Atlantic, it arrived in Rio de Janeiro in November of that year.

Captain Cook's HMS Endeavour is one of the most famous ships in naval history

Captain Cook’s HMS Endeavour is one of the most famous ships in naval history

The HMS Endeavour was launched in 1764 as the Earl of Pembroke, and then renamed His Majesty's Bark the Endeavour after it was purchased four years later by the British Royal Navy

The HMS Endeavour was launched in 1764 as the Earl of Pembroke, and then renamed His Majesty’s Bark the Endeavour after it was purchased four years later by the British Royal Navy

The museum first declared the wreck located in Newport Harbor, Rhode Island, to be the Endeavour in February 2022 following decades of archaeological examination

The museum first declared the wreck located in Newport Harbor, Rhode Island, to be the Endeavour in February 2022 following decades of archaeological examination

However, those claims have been shot down by American experts also examining the ship, who said that despite finds 'consistent with what might be expected of the Endeavour' there was not yet indisputable data to support the claim

However, those claims have been shot down by American experts also examining the ship, who said that despite finds ‘consistent with what might be expected of the Endeavour’ there was not yet indisputable data to support the claim

The boat then set out to round Cape Horn, which it managed to do on its third attempt in January after wind, stormy weather and difficult conditions foiled Cook’s first two attempts.

In April the ship reached Tahiti, where it stayed for the next four months and where astronomer Charles Green was able to study the transit of Venus in June.

After months exploring the Pacific for islands, the Endeavour reached the coast of New Zealand in October, becoming the first European vessel to land on the island in over 100 years.

Dutch explorer Abel Tasman had previously reached the islands of New Zealand and Tasmania during his 1642 journey while with the Dutch East India Company.

Cook spent six months exploring and mapping the coast of New Zealand and claimed the land for Great Britain before sailing west.

In April of 1770 individuals on the ship first spotted Australia, and on April 29 the HMS Endeavour became the first European vessel to make landfall on the east coast of the island.

Cook spent four months charting the coast and at one point ran into trouble when the ship struck part of the Great Barrier Reef.

The ship was 24 miles off the coast at the time with not enough life boats, but managed to clear the water from the hull of the ship and make its way safely back to shore.

Researches have spent time going undersea to explore what they believe is the HMS Endeavour since discovering the ship

Researches have spent time going undersea to explore what they believe is the HMS Endeavour since discovering the ship

Australian researchers claim a pump well and section of the wreck's bow prove it's the ship

Australian researchers claim a pump well and section of the wreck’s bow prove it’s the ship

The last sighting of the HMS Endeavour was around 1778 and it was scuttled — or deliberately sunk — in the harbor off the coast of Rhode Island

The last sighting of the HMS Endeavour was around 1778 and it was scuttled — or deliberately sunk — in the harbor off the coast of Rhode Island

The ship continued to explore the east cost of Australia, and in November was taken out of the water to have major repairs done before setting sail back to Great Britain.

It set sail the day after Christmas, and in March rounded the Cape of Good Hope before docking in Cape Town.

On July 12 it made its way into port in Dover, almost three years after it first left from Plymouth.

Cook was later promoted to Commander and explored the Pacific twice more on the HMS Resolution.

He was killed in 1779 during a fight with Hawaiians on the island.

The Endeavor soon become a naval transport ship, and was sold to a shipping magnate just before the start of the Revolutionary War.

That individual then tried to sell the ship back to the British when the demand for ships increased during the war but they would not accept the vessel given its age and what it had been through over the years.

The seller then made the decision to rename the boat Lord Sandwich and try to sell it again, which worked after the boat underwent serious repairs.

It was sent to Rhode Island as a prison ship when the British attempted to recapture the port city of Newport in 1778, and there it was blown up in hopes of creating a blockade in the harbor during the Battle of Rhode Island.

Most recently, the discovery of the vessel’s pump well allowed museum maritime archaeologists Kieran Hosty and James Hunter to compare it to plans of the Endeavour generated during a British Admiralty survey of the vessel in 1768.

According to the museum, the positions of the surviving pump-shaft stump and pump-well partitions on the wreck aligned perfectly with those in the archival document.

Having compared the wreck site to the historical plans, archaeologists were also able to accurately predict the location of the ship’s bow, where they found another convincing piece of evidence.

A distinctive ‘scarph’ joint in the surviving keel timber allowed the team to take further measurements of the wreck, providing another match to the historical British documents.

The design of the scarph itself, which was unusual for vessels of that era, was also an exact match for the form and size of the joint on the Endeavour’s plans, the museum said.

A survey of 40 18th-century ship plans showed just one other matched the Rhode Island wreck – that of the Marquis of Rockingham, built in 1770 by the same shipwright that produced the Endeavour.

Maritime Museum director and chief executive Daryl Karp said the finds further supported Australian researchers’ claims of the Endeavour’s identity.

‘The museum of course also acknowledges the work of the team from the Rhode Island Marine Archaeology Project, and the Rhode Island Historical Preservation and Heritage Commission for their assistance and oversight over many years,’ she said.

Time may be running out on full confirmation of the ship’s identity after a report in August 2022 suggested the ship is being devoured by shipworms. 


Maritime scientists have doubled down on claims a shipwreck off the US coast is Captain Cook’s HMS Endeavour, one of the most famous ships in naval history.

A pump well and section of the wreck’s bow further provide evidence as to the identity of the ship, the Australian National Maritime Museum said on Thursday.

The museum first declared the wreck, located in Newport Harbor, Rhode Island, was the Endeavour in February 2022 following decades of archaeological examination.

But those claims have been shot down by American experts also examining the ship, who said that despite finds ‘consistent with what might be expected of the Endeavour’ there was not yet indisputable data to support the claim.

Rhode Island Marine Archaeology Project executive director Kathy Abbass said a ‘legitimate report’ on the wreck’s identity would be released when the group’s study was complete.

Australian maritime scientists are doubling down on claims a shipwreck off the US coast is Captain Cook's HMS Endeavour, one of the most famous ships in naval history

Australian maritime scientists are doubling down on claims a shipwreck off the US coast is Captain Cook’s HMS Endeavour, one of the most famous ships in naval history

The HMS Endeavour is one of the most famous ships in naval history and was used for Captain Cook's discovery of the East Coast of Australia in 1770

The HMS Endeavour is one of the most famous ships in naval history and was used for Captain Cook’s discovery of the East Coast of Australia in 1770

But the museum said there had been no further dissenting responses to its claims that the vessel was the Endeavour in the past two years.

Several details on the wreck convinced archaeologists they had found Endeavour after matching structural details and the shape of the remains to those on 18th century plans of the ship.

Just 15 per cent of the vessel remains, with researchers now focused on what can be done to protect and preserve it.

The HMS Endeavour was launched in 1764 as the Earl of Pembroke, and then renamed His Majesty’s Bark the Endeavour after it was purchased four years later by the British Royal Navy.

The vessel was sent out to explore the Pacific Ocean in August 1768 both to observe the 1769 transit of Venus across the sun, and search for the continent which was then called Terra Australis Incognita, or unknown Southern land.

The previous transit of Venus in 1639 had provided a vast amount of the information astronomers and scientists had about the size of the solar system and universe.

The ship departed from Plymouth with 94 people on board, including Captain James Cook.

After traveling down the coast of Africa before cutting across the Atlantic, it arrived in Rio de Janeiro in November of that year.

Captain Cook's HMS Endeavour is one of the most famous ships in naval history

Captain Cook’s HMS Endeavour is one of the most famous ships in naval history

The HMS Endeavour was launched in 1764 as the Earl of Pembroke, and then renamed His Majesty's Bark the Endeavour after it was purchased four years later by the British Royal Navy

The HMS Endeavour was launched in 1764 as the Earl of Pembroke, and then renamed His Majesty’s Bark the Endeavour after it was purchased four years later by the British Royal Navy

The museum first declared the wreck located in Newport Harbor, Rhode Island, to be the Endeavour in February 2022 following decades of archaeological examination

The museum first declared the wreck located in Newport Harbor, Rhode Island, to be the Endeavour in February 2022 following decades of archaeological examination

However, those claims have been shot down by American experts also examining the ship, who said that despite finds 'consistent with what might be expected of the Endeavour' there was not yet indisputable data to support the claim

However, those claims have been shot down by American experts also examining the ship, who said that despite finds ‘consistent with what might be expected of the Endeavour’ there was not yet indisputable data to support the claim

The boat then set out to round Cape Horn, which it managed to do on its third attempt in January after wind, stormy weather and difficult conditions foiled Cook’s first two attempts.

In April the ship reached Tahiti, where it stayed for the next four months and where astronomer Charles Green was able to study the transit of Venus in June.

After months exploring the Pacific for islands, the Endeavour reached the coast of New Zealand in October, becoming the first European vessel to land on the island in over 100 years.

Dutch explorer Abel Tasman had previously reached the islands of New Zealand and Tasmania during his 1642 journey while with the Dutch East India Company.

Cook spent six months exploring and mapping the coast of New Zealand and claimed the land for Great Britain before sailing west.

In April of 1770 individuals on the ship first spotted Australia, and on April 29 the HMS Endeavour became the first European vessel to make landfall on the east coast of the island.

Cook spent four months charting the coast and at one point ran into trouble when the ship struck part of the Great Barrier Reef.

The ship was 24 miles off the coast at the time with not enough life boats, but managed to clear the water from the hull of the ship and make its way safely back to shore.

Researches have spent time going undersea to explore what they believe is the HMS Endeavour since discovering the ship

Researches have spent time going undersea to explore what they believe is the HMS Endeavour since discovering the ship

Australian researchers claim a pump well and section of the wreck's bow prove it's the ship

Australian researchers claim a pump well and section of the wreck’s bow prove it’s the ship

The last sighting of the HMS Endeavour was around 1778 and it was scuttled — or deliberately sunk — in the harbor off the coast of Rhode Island

The last sighting of the HMS Endeavour was around 1778 and it was scuttled — or deliberately sunk — in the harbor off the coast of Rhode Island

The ship continued to explore the east cost of Australia, and in November was taken out of the water to have major repairs done before setting sail back to Great Britain.

It set sail the day after Christmas, and in March rounded the Cape of Good Hope before docking in Cape Town.

On July 12 it made its way into port in Dover, almost three years after it first left from Plymouth.

Cook was later promoted to Commander and explored the Pacific twice more on the HMS Resolution.

He was killed in 1779 during a fight with Hawaiians on the island.

The Endeavor soon become a naval transport ship, and was sold to a shipping magnate just before the start of the Revolutionary War.

That individual then tried to sell the ship back to the British when the demand for ships increased during the war but they would not accept the vessel given its age and what it had been through over the years.

The seller then made the decision to rename the boat Lord Sandwich and try to sell it again, which worked after the boat underwent serious repairs.

It was sent to Rhode Island as a prison ship when the British attempted to recapture the port city of Newport in 1778, and there it was blown up in hopes of creating a blockade in the harbor during the Battle of Rhode Island.

Most recently, the discovery of the vessel’s pump well allowed museum maritime archaeologists Kieran Hosty and James Hunter to compare it to plans of the Endeavour generated during a British Admiralty survey of the vessel in 1768.

According to the museum, the positions of the surviving pump-shaft stump and pump-well partitions on the wreck aligned perfectly with those in the archival document.

Having compared the wreck site to the historical plans, archaeologists were also able to accurately predict the location of the ship’s bow, where they found another convincing piece of evidence.

A distinctive ‘scarph’ joint in the surviving keel timber allowed the team to take further measurements of the wreck, providing another match to the historical British documents.

The design of the scarph itself, which was unusual for vessels of that era, was also an exact match for the form and size of the joint on the Endeavour’s plans, the museum said.

A survey of 40 18th-century ship plans showed just one other matched the Rhode Island wreck – that of the Marquis of Rockingham, built in 1770 by the same shipwright that produced the Endeavour.

Maritime Museum director and chief executive Daryl Karp said the finds further supported Australian researchers’ claims of the Endeavour’s identity.

‘The museum of course also acknowledges the work of the team from the Rhode Island Marine Archaeology Project, and the Rhode Island Historical Preservation and Heritage Commission for their assistance and oversight over many years,’ she said.

Time may be running out on full confirmation of the ship’s identity after a report in August 2022 suggested the ship is being devoured by shipworms. 

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