Rhode Island Marine Archaeology Project (RIMAP) Potential 1778 transport sites in Newport Harbor map, 2014 | State Archives Catalog
The record consists of a pre-disturbance map of eight possible 18th-century British transport sites in Newport Harbor. The Rhode Island Marine Archaeology Project has studied the largest fleet of Revolutionary War shipwrecks found anywhere in the world, including three Royal Navy frigates sunk along the west coast of Aquidneck Island and eight British transports sunk in Newport Harbor. RIMAP's ongoing studies feature the search for five more transports, two more Royal Navy frigates, at least four small armed Royal Navy vessels, a number of Continental Navy vessels and Rhode Island privateers, many local small craft, and perhaps one French ship.
AN INTRODUCTION TO THE RHODE ISLAND MARINE ARCHAEOLOGY PROJECT'S REVOLUTIONARY WAR TRANSPORT STUDY, INCLUDING THE SEARCH FOR THE LORD SANDWICH ex ENDEAVOUR, OF CAPT. COOK'S FIRST CIRCUMNAVIGATION
The Rhode Island Marine Archaeology Project (RIMAP) has mapped eight potential is" century sites in Newport Harbour that are possible candidates to be among the thirteen British transports sunk there August 5-9, 1778, during the American Revolution. One of these transports was the Lord Sandwich, the vessel that had been the Endeavour Bark of Captain James Cook's first circumnavigation.
As RIMAP continues its historical and field research, chances will increase that the Endeavour will be found. In any case, the study of so many vessels sunk in one event is an important contribution to the understanding of is" century merchant ship construction and use, and confirms Rhode Island's importance in the Revolution.
This "Poster" illustrates the footprints of the eight mapped sites, some showing details, and all done to the same scale. The difference in how much structure is seen in each site may not be a true representation of its size, but instead may reflect the difference in how much is still covered by silt, or how much a site may have been disturbed in the 235+ years since its loss.
Note that the identification of which site is which ship will depend on detailed studies of each site. This will require excavation to reveal diagnostic parts of the ships' structures, with an analysis of the related artifacts and samples, all of which means RIMAP must have a proper facility to study and care for the removed materials before we may proceed. Our preferred location for the facility is at the Butts Hill Fort Park in Portsmouth, Rhode Island. This fort was the center of the American line during the August 29-30, 1778, Battle of Rhode Island in the American Revolution. Because the Lord Sandwich ex Endeavour was sunk in the days leading up to that battle, the relationship between this ship (and the fleet in which she was lost) with the fort is clear. The facility will be a place for RIMAP to continue its work, and it will be a place for RIMAP to share its exciting results with the 'Public.
On June 3, 2012, RIMAP announced the start of the planning process to have such a facility, and we expect to open it on June 3, 2019, the 250th anniversary of the Transit of Venus in 1769, the event that sent Cook in the Endeavour to Tahiti, and then around the world.
The Rhode Island Marine Archaeology Project trains volunteers to participate in maritime history and marine archaeology studies under professional direction. Please see the details at: www.rimap.org and contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.