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ANMM & RIMAP ‘Endeavour’ permit

Permit approved to conduct investigation of potential Endeavour site in Newport’s outer harbor, Newport RI, July 2019

The approval of a permit to explore the site of the shipwreck in Newport’s Outer Harbor may help to determine if it is Captain Cook’s Endeavour.

The Rhode Island Historical Preservation and Heritage Commission announced Friday that they have issued a permit to the Rhode Island Marine Archaeology Project “for an intensive archaeological investigation of a shipwreck site in Newport’s outer harbor that was identified by RIMAP in 2018 as a strong candidate to be Captain Cook’s Endeavour.”

The fieldwork will determine the dimensions of the ship’s remaining structure and will potentially lead to the recovery of 18th-century artifacts and wood samples, potentially providing proof of the site’s identification.

The permit approval comes after Kathy Abbass, RIMAP executive director and principal investigator, and Kevin Sumption, CEO and executive director of the Australian National Maritime Museum, announced on April 28 the creation of an artifact management facility on the campus of the Herreshoff Marine Museum in Bristol. At the same time RIMAP and the ANMM confirmed the continued partnership between these organizations to conduct the 2019 field research in Newport’s outer harbor.

The fieldwork and conservation facility are funded primarily by the Australian National Maritime Museum along with local Rhode Island supporters. ANNM marine archaeologists will join the RIMAP team for three weeks of work on the selected shipwreck site in late August and early September.

“RIMAP has been homing in on Endeavour for years, and has identified a particular shipwreck of the transport fleet as a strong candidate to be that iconic vessel. Thanks to support from the Australian National Maritime Museum, RIMAP’s new conservation facility will make possible the excavation that might provide the evidence needed to definitively identify the site in time for the 250th anniversary of Captain Cook’s historic voyage to Australia,” RIHPHC archaeologist Charlotte Taylor said in a statement.

“This fleet of ships is significant to local and national history because of its participation in events leading up to the Battle of Rhode Island in the American Revolution. So this ship, whichever one she might be, is important to United States history. But if we can find evidence that she is the Endeavour, then it would make a spectacular connection between Rhode Island and the international audience watching our progress,” Abbass added in the statement.

“The Australian National Maritime Museum’s marine archaeologists eagerly await joining the RIMAP team to take part in this intensive investigation at the end of August. James Cook’s Endeavour bark is of profound historical significance to Australian and New Zealanders and its search has also captured global attention. It is an exciting prospect that this search will being us one step closer to identifying whether the shipwreck could be Cook’s iconic ship,” Sumption said in a statement.

Council of Australasian Museum Directors c/o Mr Brian Oldman, South Australian Museum PO Box 234 Adelaide, South Australia 5001 Australia, © CAMD 2022
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