Wreckage of Captain Cook's Ship Found

Hunt for famed 'Endeavour' ship could be nearing an end

Once records of the transport ships - including the former Endeavour - was discovered by Abbass in the 1990s, her team began whittling the number of prospective wreck sites down from 13 to a handful and now finally to one or two.

The breakthrough, to be officially announced on Friday, follows an arduous 25-year search for the historic ship off Newport, Rhode Island, on the north-eastern coast of the US.

Cook sailed the ship on his voyage of discovery to Australia and New Zealand between 1968 and 1770 and it was later used by the British Navy in 1978 as part of the American War of Independence but it's whereabouts since have been an unknown.

- The Endeavour next undertook navy voyages to and from the Falkland Islands. before being sold into private hands in 1775.

While the potential discovery of the Endeavour comes at a historically significant time for Australia, 250 years after Cook's voyage has also seen the explorer undergo a reassessment in the country he is considered a founder of. When French reinforcements came to assist American revolutionaries in Rhode Island, the British chose to sink their ships rather than allow them to be captured, creating a blockade out of scuttled vessels to block the French from getting into the harbor.

On Sept. 18, Rhode Island Marine Archaeology Project (RIMAP) stated that a new development in their research would be revealed at the end of the week.

Researchers scanning wrecks in the area have pinpointed one that's suspiciously larger than the rest, and although they're not certain, the thinking is that this could well be the remnants of the Endeavour.

"In a statement on their website, RIMAP said: "[we have] identified a possible site in Newport Harbour that might be the Lord Sandwich ex Endeavour". "They took everything off of the ships and sunk them right before the Battle of Newport".

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"It is exciting, we are closing in", RIMAP director Kathy Abbass said.

It was later renamed the Lord Sandwich and used as a troop transport and prison brig.

- A replica of Endeavour was launched in 1994 and is now berthed at the Australian National Maritime Museum in Sydney's Darling Harbour.

The Endeavour has arguably never been forgotten, however.

And almost 200 years after Cook explored the Pacific, NASA named the Space Shuttle Endeavour after the historic vessel; a wooden piece from the original ship was reportedly in the cockpit of the shuttle when it was blasted into space. Docked in the waters at the Australian National Maritime Museum in Sydney is a faithful replica of the HMB Endeavour as it likely existed in Cook's day, complete with clothes hung out to dry.

Still, nothing is a substitute for the real thing. An artist on board ended up producing more than 900 images from the trip, including what was believed to be the first drawing of a kangaroo by a European, as well as depictions of Maori warriors in New Zealand.

But marine archaeologists said this week that after a search that spanned decades, the remains of the Endeavour, however decrepit, may have been located.

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