Researchers may have found Captain Cook's ship Endeavour

A replica of James Cook's Endeavour

A replica of James Cook's Endeavour

More than two centuries later, researchers believe they have pinpointed the ship's final resting place, according to the Rhode Island Marine Archaeology Project.

Captain James Cook by Nathaniel Dance-Holland, 1776.

Capt Cook set sail on Endeavour - a British-built coal ship - in 1768 on a scientific voyage to map the Pacific Ocean.

That site is in Newport Harbour in the U.S. state of Rhode Island.

Australia, New Zealand, the USA and United Kingdom could also feasibly lay claim to the Endeavour on the grounds that it is historically significant to their country. The research team must raise funds in order to excavate the vessel.

The Rhode Island Marine Archaeology Project (Rimap), which has been working with the Australian National Maritime Museum (ANMM), said it would release a "3-D photogrammetric image of a promising site" on Friday.

However, despite the discovery, there was still "detailed work" to be done to prove that this was indeed the vessel.

Painting of the Earl of Pembroke, later HMS Endeavour, leaving Whitby Harbour in 1768 by Thomas Luny.

Today a replica of the cramped and surprisingly small vessel sits in Sydney's Darling Harbour, as a reminder of a pivotal point in the history of modern Australia.

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Cook's three-year expedition on the Endeavour was a mission to gather astronomical and geographical data for the British Navy. As the Revolutionary War was erupting, the British chartered the ship to transport soldiers before apparently sinking it along with 12 other transport ships in 1778 to shield Newport from the French fleet.

Once records of the transport ships - including the former Endeavour - was discovered by Abbass in the 1990s, her team began whittling the number of prospective wreck sites down from 13 to a handful and now finally to one or two. Though Cook became a legend, the Endeavour didn't receive the star treatment. The group noted this year is the 250th anniversary of Cook's departure on the Endeavour to the Pacific - and that 2020 will be the same anniversary of the explorer claiming Australia for Britain.

- On June 11, 1770 Endeavour struck part of the Great Barrier Reef and was nursed to the Endeavour River at what is now Cooktown where it was beached and repairs were carried out on the holed hull. Remarkably, the Endeavour rounded the Cape of Good Hope, at the southernmost tip of Africa, and made its way back to the British-occupied island of Saint Helena, almost three years after it had departed England.

- The Endeavour next undertook navy voyages to and from the Falkland Islands. before being sold into private hands in 1775.

The ship was renamed the Lord Sandwich 2 and later used by the British to imprison Americans captured during the War of Independence.

- It's believed the vessel was strategically scuttled in a blockade of Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island, in 1778.

Cook - and the HMB Endeavour - had successfully circumnavigated the globe.

- The US space shuttle Endeavour was named after Cook's ship.

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