Underwater jigsaw puzzle of Captain Cook's ship Endeavour

Story highlights

  • The search for Captain Cook's Endeavour centers on two square miles in Newport
  • Cook helped shape the map of the world on board the vessel from 1770
  • For years, its whereabouts remained but it is now thought it was scuttled in 1778
  • It is part of a total of 13 18th Century ships under water in Newport Harbour

(CNN)This is no treasure hunt for a casket of gold at the bottom of the ocean.

Instead, it's like looking for a needle in a haystack, with this search potentially for no more than a few partly rotten timber frames on Newport Harbor's sea floor.
    For years, the whereabouts of one of the most famous ships in nautical history -- HMS Endeavour -- has remained a mystery.
    "I don't like to call it treasure as there's no gold or silver," Dr Kathy Abbass, the executive director of Rhode Island Marine Archaeology Project, a not-for-profit organization set up in 1992 set up to study the area's maritime history, told CNN. "But it's an intellectual treasure."
    The Endeavour is now believed to have been intentionally sunk -- in a new life and under a new name -- during the American Revolution in 1778.
    Endeavour is endemic to every Australian and New Zealand child's education with a rich British and American history to boot.
    It was the boat on which Captain James Cook achieved the first recorded contact with the east coast of Australia, Hawaii, and the first circumnavigation of New Zealand.