“The Endeavour was used for one of the world’s earliest scientific voyages, and is responsible for amassing information that has shaped human history. Its name has since been used for pioneering voyages of space discovery. If this wreck was on land, more would be done to preserve it but because it is under water I believe there is a real danger of it being out of sight and out of mind. The majority of the vessel has been destroyed over the past two centuries and more. If it is left, the shipworms will continue to eat away at its structure and we could be left with little – or nothing – to preserve.”
Dr Reuben Shipway with Dr Kathy Abbass from the Rhode Island Marine Archaeology Project
“As long as the timbers are exposed in the ocean, the shipworms will continue to eat away at them. However, when they are submerged in sediment the worms cannot access them, so submerging more of the wreck could offer a short-term solution. That would only last until the region was hit by a storm and the sediments shifted, however, but it could give those seeking to preserve it time to develop a long-term plan.
“We have seen with ships like the Mary Rose that you can rescue them from the seabed. The stories you are then able to tell should be part of our enduring cultural heritage, something that unites all of us and gives us hope even though we may face uncertainty in the future. I think it’s important to preserve these monumental feats of human ingenuity from history.”
Diving to the wreck thought to belong to HMS Endeavour
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