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Cook's HMS Endeavour found at last?

September 19, 2018

A centuries-old mystery may finally be coming to an end. A team of archaeologists has planned a major excavation for the HMS Endeavour, the ship used by Captain James Cook when he first traveled to Australia.

Replica of the HMS Endeavour
Image: Getty Images/AFP/S. Khan

Researchers in the US have announced they are relatively certain they have located the remains of the HMS Endeavour, the famed ship used by Captain James Cook when he first traveled to Australia and New Zealand.

"Early indications are that the team has narrowed the possible site for the wreck of HMB Endeavour to one site, which is very promising," Kevin Sumption, head of the Australian National Maritime Museum, part of the US-Australian team looking for the vessel, said Wednesday.

However, Sumption warned that "a lot more detailed work, analysis and research has to happen before we can definitively say we have found the remains of James Cook's HMB Endeavour."

Cook went on his famous voyage from 1768 to 1771, becoming the first Englishman to set foot on the east coast of Australia, forever altering the history of the land.

Ship scuttled in American Revolution

After Cook's voyages, the ship was decommissioned and renamed the Lord Sandwich II. The ship's private owner allowed it to be used for troop transport during the American War of Independence, which led to its being scuttled in Narragansett Bay off Rhode Island in 1778.

Since then the ship has been thought to be lost, although there have been several expeditions in search of the vessel.

A replica of the ship located in Sydney's Darling Harbour (pictured above) shows how small and cramped the vessel would have been for the 94 people aboard.

Archaeologists working to recover the remains said they have planned a major excavation for 2019, which they hope will definitively prove that the wreck is that of the Endeavour.

The Rhode Island Marine Archaeology Project has said it will release a detailed 3D map of the proposed excavation site on Friday.

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Elizabeth Schumacher
Elizabeth Schumacher Elizabeth Schumacher reports on gender equity, immigration, poverty and education in Germany.