Captain Cook’s Shipwreck Was Found Off the Coast of Rhode Island

Ahoy, Lord Sandwich.

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Photo via Wikimedia/Creative Commons

Painting of the HMS Endeavor off the coast of New Holland via Wikimedia/Creative Commons

The ship that British explorer Captain James Cook sailed across the Pacific with is probably sitting underwater off the coast of Rhode Island.

Researchers with the Rhode Island Marine Archaeology Project said this week that they’re almost positive the shipwreck is somewhere in Newport Harbor.

The historic vessel was formerly known as the HMS Endeavour. Cook set out on a voyage with the Endeavour from 1768 to 1771, during which he made British contact with Australia and New Zealand. Later, the ship was sold and renamed to Lord Sandwich.

Where does Newport come in? Rhode Island Maine Archaeology Project founder and executive director Kathy Abbass told the Associated Press that the ship sailed over from England during the Revolutionary War. The British sent the ship as part of a fleet to blockade Newport Harbor from the French. While in the harbor, Lord Sandwich was scuttled, or sunk purposely, to form the blockade.

Researchers think Lord Sandwich is one of five shipwrecks in Newport Harbor. They’ve been searching for the ship for years with help from a 2014 grant from the Australian National Maritime Museum. The grant has enabled the team to comb over historic documents to locate other ships from the same fleet.

According to the AP, the Rhode Island Marine Archaeology Project will need to raise millions to continue with fieldwork and to build a facility for found artifacts.

While the ship was used to claim Australia many years ago, if it’s found, Lord Sandwich will belong to Rhode Island.

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