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Rhode Island researchers hoping Captain Cook’s Endeavour right under their nose

2019-09-08

A print from a painting showing Captain James Cook taking possession of New South Wales, taken from the collection of the Philosophical Institute of Victoria. (Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Archaeologists are hoping their ship is ready to come in.

Historians searching for the HMS Endeavour, the famous ship English sea captain James Cook helmed around the world, are hoping to confirm it is the wrecked remains of a vessel near Newport, R.I.

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Researchers will hold a public meeting in Rhode Island on Sunday to discuss their work, reported The Associated Press.

The Rhode Island Marine Archaeology Project is leading the Endeavour search effort.

Spectators watch a replica of the HMS Endeavour in Honolulu back in 1999.
Spectators watch a replica of the HMS Endeavour in Honolulu back in 1999. (Ronen Zilberman/AP)

The organization claims to have discovered materials and other artifacts at the site that are consistent with a vessel dating back to the 1700s.

Nearly 250 years ago, Cook captained the Endeavour to claim Australia for the British. The ship was also part of a British fleet blockade against the French in 1778.

The 97-foot-long ship left Portsmouth, England, in 1768 with 94 men. After a stop in the Madeira Islands — located about 600 miles southwest of Lisbon, Portugal — 17 days after setting sail to gather fresh provisions and repaint the vessel, it arrived in Rio de Janeiro two months later.

Later, the Endeavour would traverse the South Pacific, landing on Tahiti in 1769 before eventually sailing to Australia.

The Cook Islands — a self-governing country consisting of 15 islands — is situated nearly 2,000 miles northeast of New Zealand. The nation is named after Cook, who visited the territory twice — the first time in 1773 and again four years later.

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