The Rhode Island Marine Archaeology Project (RIMAP) provided its annual update of activities on 8 September, 2018. Cook’s Log has provided periodic updates about this research in prior issues.1 From earlier years’ work, the site location explored in Newport’s Outer Harbor is where Endeavour, then named Lord Sandwich, was scuttled in 1778. Examination of the artifacts and ship’s structure confirmed that the site is that of an 18th-century shipwreck.
The 2018 report pinpointed two debris piles that were of particular interest as possibly being the site of Endeavour. She had been sunk in 1778, along with other vessels at the entrance to Newport Harbor, to prevent the French Navy from entering the area, then, as now, an important naval base.
RIMAP partners with the Australian National Maritime Museum and the SilentWorld Foundation to carry out shipwreck studies work in Newport Harbor, Rhode Island. The RIMAP report for 2019 included the following three points.
Information gathered will undergo analysis at RIMAP’s laboratory at the Hereshoff Marine Museum at Bristol, Rhode Island. It is suggested that this analysis may prove the site is that of Lord Sandwich / Endeavour. The report concluded, “although there is nothing to say this is the Lord Sandwich, there is nothing to say that it is not” that vessel.
One long-standing question was how Lord Sandwich and the other vessels were scuttled. It was long assumed that holes were cut in the vessels’ bottoms to allow the ships to sink. This year’s examination of a vessel’s keel revealed that a hole was cut in that part of the ship—a small but interesting piece of information for the marine archaeologists.
RIMAP’s website2 has details and photographs from the 2019 annual report, along with other information about it and its affiliated organizations in their search for Endeavour.
James C. Hamilton
Originally published in Cook's Log, page 62, volume 42, number 4 (2019).
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