The Australian National Maritime Museum has made a significant breakthrough in maritime history, revealing the conclusive identification of the renowned HMB Endeavour, Captain James Cook’s iconic barque.
Over the course of several years, the museum’s dedicated team diligently combed through various wreck sites in Newport’s harbor. Their relentless pursuit culminated in February 2022, when they publicly announced the discovery of the ship’s wreck. Subsequently, meticulous examination and analysis led to the irrefutable confirmation of its identity.
Despite the absence of substantial artifacts, researchers leaned heavily on historical documentation and the degraded wooden hull’s distinct characteristics. The pivotal discoveries centered around the identification of the pump well and the keel-stem scarf joint, both aligning impeccably with the ship’s original specifications.
The correlation between the pump well’s dimensions, precisely delineated during the British Admiralty’s survey in 1768, and the lower hold plan of the Endeavour underscores the accuracy of this revelation. Furthermore, the presence of the rare “half-lap” scarf joint, a distinguishing feature observed in only a select few vessels of that era, notably British colliers akin to the Endeavour, solidifies the ship’s identity.
The culmination of historical records and archaeological findings has unequivocally confirmed that the RI 2394 wreck corresponds to James Cook’s renowned vessel, the Endeavour. The urgent recommendation from the team emphasizes the critical necessity for both legislative and physical protection of this historically significant site.
This pivotal revelation not only marks a momentous achievement in maritime archaeology but also highlights the imperative need to safeguard our maritime heritage for generations to come.