Mystery of Captain Cook's Endeavour 'solved' after 240 years

A painting of HMS Endeavour which researchers believe they have discovered off the coast of the United States

SUPPLIED A painting of HMS Endeavour which researchers believe they have discovered off the coast of the United States

Researchers in Rhode Island, on the US East Coast, said this week that they had narrowed a decades-long search for the Endeavour to "one or two archaeological sites", just in time for the 250th anniversary of Cook's voyage from the United Kingdom to Australia aboard the vessel, the first recorded European contact with that continent.

Friday's announcement will be attended by the chair of the Australian National Maritime Museum Peter Dexter, as well as Australia's consul-general Alastair Walton, News 9 noted.

After long studies, researches and observations of the ship's sinking, the researchers were able to determine the location of the sinking of the vessel - Harbor, Newport, Rhode island, USA. The team has found what appear to be 10 of the 13 transport ships, Abbass said earlier this year at the organization's annual meeting.

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If the discovery of the Endeavour is confirmed, it will likely set off a bout of diplomatic wrangling over which country gets to keep and display the remains of the ship, if it can be safely retrieved and transported.

The discovery comes 25 years after the search for the former British Royal Navy vessel began. She met her end in 1778, when she was intentionally sunk as part of a blockade against American-allied French warships off Newport, Rhode Island.

Cook departed Plymouth in August 1768, travelling through the Pacific Islands before arriving in New Zealand in September 1769.

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Given her involvement in pivotal events in the history of colonial England, Endeavour's wreck has significance for Australia, America and the UK.

HMS Endeavour, Captain James Cook's old boat that he famously used to discover a few places that already existed, has apparently been found after spending almost 250 years lost at the bottom of the sea. "It is exciting, we are closing in".

But the Guardian sounds a note of caution, quoting the director of the Australian National Maritime Museum as saying a confirmation has not yet happened, and that divers are retrieving timber samples that will hopefully provide verification that the ship is British in origin. It is the Rhode Island Marine Archaeology Project's hope that the vessel might be excavated next year, in time for the 250th anniversary of Capt. Cook's landing at Botany Bay. He and his crew became the first European expedition to map the entire coast of New Zealand, and later, the first to reach Australia's east coast.

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"In a statement on their website, RIMAP said: "[we have] identified a possible site in Newport Harbour that might be the Lord Sandwich ex Endeavour".

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