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Found: Captain Cook’s Ship

Rhode Island researchers may have finally pinpointed the ship’s resting place.

The HMS Endeavor. (Image: Samuel Atkins/Public domain)

In 1768, James Cook sailed from England in a ship named the Endeavour. He was aiming for the Pacific Ocean and the lands there that Britain had yet to map. The ship made it around Cape Horn and into the Pacific, all the way to Australia.

But while Cook became famous, his boat slipped away. It was renamed the Lord Sandwich and sold to a private fleet. In 1778, the ship was hired to carry British troops to America, where it disappeared.

It’s long been known that the ship was scuttled off the coast of Rhode Island, but its exact location was lost. Now though, the Rhode Island Marine Archaeology Project says there’s an “80 to 100% chance” they’ve located the ship.

In 1998, the project turned up historical documents detailing the locations of the Lord Sandwich and other scuttled ships. Since then, the project has studied 13 ships at 9 different sites. They were able to determine that the Lord Sandwich was part of a group of five ships. They’ve located the wreck sites of four of those five ships, and possibly the last one as well.

The project has plans, yet to be detailed, to confirm the identity of the ship during 2016.  But if they’ve located all five ships, one of those should be the Lord Sandwich—it’s just a matter of determining which one. 

Bonus finds: Climbers who disappeared 16 years ago

Every day, we highlight one newly found object, curiosity or wonder. Discover something amazing? Tell us about it! Send your finds to sarah.laskow@atlasobscura.com.