on air now

‘It’s very promising’: Final resting place of Cook’s Endeavour vessel potentially located

Article image for ‘It’s very promising’: Final resting place of Cook’s Endeavour vessel potentially located

In what could be an answer to one of the ocean’s greatest mysteries, marine archaeologists suspect they may have found the final resting place of the HMB Endeavour, the ship James Cook commanded to Australia on his historic voyage of discovery.

With archaeologists hoping the famed shipwreck’s remains can be excavated from their US grave in time for the 250th anniversary of Cook’s arrival in Australia, a two week excavation effort is currently scrutinising five wrecks in and around Newport Harbor in Rhode Island.

Here, the search is on for clues that might identify and discern which shipwreck is in fact Cook’s ship.

Kevin Sumption from the Australian National Maritime Museum is cautiously optimistic the process may see some big results.

“We have divers in water right now in Newport diving on a very promising site,” he tells Michael McLaren.

“There’s 13 boats that the English scuttled in the August of 1778. This was an effort to stop the French who’d just joined the US in the War of Independence and were threatening to sail into Newport Harbor. One of them was called the Sandwich. This was a renamed the Endeavour, it was Cook’s ship.”

The formidable challenge for the team will be distinguishing Cook’s vessel from the other surrounding shipwrecks. It’s thought the golden ticket may be what the Endeavour is made of. Oak derived from Northern England is predominately the composition of Cook’s ship, while others are made of American and Indian timber.

“The divers are removing samples of some timbres protruding in the seabed. They’re going to take those and compare them to a database of wood plantations that we know come from different parts of the world. We’re looking for a match to forests in North England, where the Endeavour was built.”

Click PLAY below to listen to the full interview