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​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​RIMAP ARCHIVES

Over the years RIMAP's website has featured a number of announcements on our Home Page for activities that were successful. As the announcements expired, they were erased. Starting with the year 2014, we left all of those announcements on the Home Page, and now will place the years information in this file for review. The content pages will remain the same, with updates as appropriate.



Charlotte Taylor will highlight some of the most dramatic stories of local marine disasters in her new book, Images of America: Rhode Island Shipwrecks, at 6:30-7:30 p.m. on Thursday, July 6, 2017, in the Rogers Library meeting room, Bristol, RI. 

Rhode Island, the Ocean State, has more shipwrecks per square mile than any other state. The record of shipwrecks in Rhode Island begins immediately after the arrival of Europeans in the early 17th century with the grounding of a Dutch trading vessel, and thousands more vessels came to grief in its waters in the following centuries, through bad weather, human error, equipment failure, and military action. Some of these shipwrecks were epic disasters, with many fatalities and the total loss of the vessel. Others were relatively minor misfortunes in which the ships were salvageable.

Charlotte Taylor, an archaeologist at the RI Historical Preservation and Heritage Commission, gathers 180 images of shipwrecks from the 19th century into the 20th.  These dramatic pictures show the variety of vessels that travelled Rhode Island’s waters when the ocean was the primary transportation corridor, and they especially illustrate the many ways in which the vessels met misfortune. Books will be available for purchase, Taylor will sign them and answer questions. This event is sponsored by the Rhode Island Marine Archaeology Project. 



Sept. 12 began the 2016 Rhode Island Marine Archaeology Project's fieldwork in Newport Harbor, and it was completed on October 3. The Media Event announced our preliminary research findings at 10 a.m., Thursday morning, September 29. The original venue of the gazebo at the Goat Island Hyatt in Newport, Rhode Island was changed due to heavy cold winds, and the event was held nearby in the Tourism Center on America's Cup Avenue.

Speakers included RI State Marine Archaeologist Charlotte Taylor, RI Coastal Resources Management Council Chair Anne Livingston, RIMAP archaeological Field Supervisor Dr. Kerry Lynch, Australian National Maritime Museum (ANMM) Research Director and diver for this project Dr. Nigel Erskine, Tourism Director Evan Smith, and ANMM Executive Director Kevin Sumption. RIMAP Principal Investigator and Executive Director D. K. Abbass announced that the team has found another 18th-century site in the 2016 study area. Analysis of this new data will continue throughout the coming winter, and mapping of this site and continued searching are planned for the 2017 season.​ 

In addition to the announcement of the archaeological results and the preliminary historical interpretation of that new information, the future protection of these irreplaceable 18th-century sites was discussed, and why that will be a paramount task for the state of Rhode Island as the archaeological work progresses. The sites will be marked with "No Anchor, No Dive" buoys to indicate that there should be no visition to these areas, but fishing, boating, anchoring, and diving elsewhere in the harbor are not restricted.

All those interested to participate in RIMAP's activities are encouraged to join the organization, take our training, and depending on personal skill/availability and RIMAP's particular needs/schedule, the public is invited to join in this, and all the other, exciting RIMAP research projects.



June 25 - Newport: Check out dive at Brenton Cove boat ramp for RIMAP-trained volunteer scuba divers new
             to the program. Non-divers encouraged to observe. Success!


July 9 - Bristol: Check out dive at Independence Park boat ramp for RIMAP-trained volunteer scuba divers new to the program. Non-divers encouraged to observe. Success!


Jul. 19-23 - Warwick: To monitor conditions of the two "Not the Gaspee" sites mapped in 2015. This will be non-diving work, but feet will get wet and possibly muddy on the 2' deep walk from shore to the sites in Occupassetuxet Cove. Some volunteers also needed who can snorkel, to determine context around the known sites and determine presence of suspected other shipwrecks nearby. Open to all RIMAP-trained volunteers. Success!


Aug. 3-9 - Newport: To map disturbance and damage to an early 20th-century US Army marine railway at Fort Adams State Park, Newport. Less than 40' deep shore dive and may be used as RIMAP check-out dive. Possible further work in Brenton Cove, less than 30' deep shore dives, to create first RIMAP recommended shipwreck preserve. Open to all RIMAP-trained volunteer divers with basic Open Water skills. Non-diving on-shore team support is welcome. Success!

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10 a.m., Wednesday May 4, 

the Rhode Island Historical Preservation and Heritage Commission 

Old State House, 150 Benefit Street, Providence, RI.  Success!


With a small grant to RIMAP from the Australian National Maritime Museum, we saw documents in January that has added to the historical backgrounds of the ships sunk in Newport in 1778. We now know the names of the 5 ships (out of the fleet of 13 scuttled transports) that were sent to one area of Newport harbor. Among those 5 was the Lord Sandwich eEndeavour. In its previous work RIMAP had already mapped 9 of the vessels that were in the fleet, and when the document told where the group of 5 was sent, we realized we had already mapped 4 of them. With a further review of RIMAP's remote sensing data, there is a promising area where the 5th site might be, and the planned 2016 fieldwork should determine if she exists. So if that 5th site is found, there will have a 100% chance that the Endeavour is still there. If that last one isn't found, then there is still an 80% chance that she exists among the 4 we have already mapped. 

Next RIMAP will have to do the very expensive work to determine which site is which ship, and possibly determine which one is the Lord Sandwich ex Endeavour. That means comparing the historical materials assembled about each vessel with what is seen in the archaeological sites. Such increasingly intense fieldwork is very expensive and RIMAP must also have a lab for artifact management and data analysis. That will be an even bigger expense than the cost of supporting the fieldwork to study the sites. So at the same time RIMAP is pursuing its various research investigations, there is also a capital campaign to develop its facility.

A couple of years ago RIMAP published a poster (see below) to show the preliminary maps done of 8 Newport Harbor archaeological sites. Four of those maps are for sites located in the area now known where the Lord Sandwich was sent. The poster is out of print, and needs to be updated because last year RIMAP mapped the 9th site. But this first poster was immediately picked up by Google, which means that anyone who looked at it online there, too, was possibly already looking at a site map of the Endeavour.

Some have asked if there is a plan to raise the vessel, but that is an even more expensive proposition, not only the technical challenges to get it up and the greater expenses for the preservation, study, and presentation of the object, but whatever planning is done must include the fact that it will be a perpetual responsibility.

As with most things, how all of this progresses will depend on funding. So please contact us at if you wish to help.

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These were the classes offered:

Saturday Mar. 12 (9-4) - Introduction to Marine Archaeology [Cancelled/replaced by later classes, below]: Instructor Kathy Abbass.   How marine archaeologists work, including remote sensing, field methods, legal issues, field documentation, and RIMAP protocols. Open to the general public; required for RIMAP volunteer participation. Success!

Saturday Mar. 19 (9-12) - Site Mapping I [Rescheduled to September 10]: Instructors Kerry Lynch, Kim Smith.  How to collect and interpret archaeological data. Introduces the selection of a site datum, installation of baselines, linear, circular, and pendulum searches. Success!

Saturday Mar. 19 (1-4) - Site Mapping II [Rescheduled to September 10]: Instructor Kerry Lynch, Kim Smith.  Introduces the installation of grids and drawing from them. Both classes demonstrate how to interpret field data and create simple site maps. Recommended for those who participate in diving fieldwork. Success!

Saturday Apr. 2 (9-12) - Museum Theory & RIMAP's plans for Butts Hill Fort ($25): Instructors Elliott Caldwell, Kathy Abbass.  Ethics and museum management. Also introduces what RIMAP will need to know as we build an artifact management facility and museum. ​Success!

Saturday Apr. 2 (1-4) - Rhode Island in the Revolution ($25): Instructor Kathy Abbass.  Why RI was pivotal to Patriot success in the Revolution, and what RIMAP is doing to share that history with the public.Success!

Saturday Apr. 16 (9-12) Traditional Ship Construction ($25): Instructor Kathy Abbass.  What marine archaeologists need to know about how boats are built to interpret historic shipwreck sites. Success!

Saturday Apr. 16 (1-4) - Measured Drawing for Archaeologists ($25): Instructor Charles Kovach.  How to prepare professional quality drawings of archaeological specimens for general documentation and publication.  Recommended for those interested to help with RIMAP's artifact collection. Success!

Saturday May 7 (9-12) - Sharing Shipwrecks ($25): Instructor Joy Elvin.  Underwater preserves and other ways to enjoy our submerged cultural heritage. Why that is important and how it relates to the public. Success!

Saturday May 7 (1-4) - Star Trek and Capt. Cook ($25): Instructors Kathy Abbass, Joe Zarzynski.  How the original Star Trek story was based on Capt. James Cook's 18th-century exploits. Includes discussion the many parallels and how the media translates reality into fiction. ​Success!

Saturday May 21 (9-12) - Submerged Terrestrial Archaeology ($25): Instructors Kerry Lynch, Dave Robinson, Charlotte Taylor.  A panel discussion of prehistoric sites to be found in Rhode Island waters, and what marine archaeology contributes to their understanding. Success!

Saturday May 21 (1-4) - How Stone Tools are Made ($25): Instructor Tim Ives.  The basics of this early  technology, how the tools are made, how they are used, and what they can tell us about early cultures. Success!

Saturday June 11 (9-4) -  Introduction to Marine Archaeology ($50): Second offering in 2016. Success!

Saturday July 16 (9-4) -  Introduction to Marine Archaeology ($50): Third offering in 2016 (To be held in Warwick at the Steamships Historical Society of America facility, 2500 Post Road).​ Success!​

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Saturday, January 9, 2016, 3-4 p.m. 
Town Council Chambers, Portsmouth Town Hall
2200 East Main Road, Portsouth, RI 
Agenda included
General business meeting, 
Review of 2015 activities and 2016 plans, 
Volunteer awards

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​THE YEAR 2015 - Summary

This was a busy year for RIMAP:

*     Saturday, February 28 - July 11 - Intermittent weekend RIMAP classes. 
*     Saturday, March 28 (3-4 p.m.) - RIMAP Annual Meeting. (Location - Portsmouth, RI, Town Hall)
*     Sunday, April 12 (2 p.m.) - Viewing of Gaspee Documentary, Linden Place, Bristol (Details will also be posted at
*     Fri-Sat, May 29-30 - 2015 Gaspee Days Maritime History Symposium in Providence. RIMAP will make a presentation. (Details at
*     Summer-Fall - Intermittent marine archaeology fieldwork on a variety of sites. Differing skill requirements. Includes volunteer check-out/monitoring dives, check new sites, and selected remapping. (Dates TBA, mainly weekends; depends on volunteer availability.)
*     Mon-Fri, July 13-17 - "Not the Gaspee" Project, Warwick, RI. Shallow water marine archaeology fieldwork. These are late 19th and early 20th century shipwrecks near the possible location of the Gaspee. (Diving skills not required, but volunteers should have attended RIMAP Intro class, and not mind slogging around in ankle-deep muck.)
*     August-September - Tentative three weeks of marine archaeology fieldwork in Newport Harbor, discovery and mapping, partnered with Australian National Maritime Museum (Qualified RIMAP volunteer divers only; specific dates TBA and other details pending)
*     August - Sixth Annual Rhode Island heritage tourism informational meeting, sponsored by RIMAP in Providence. (Specific topic, speaker, and date TBA)
*     September 9-15​ - Newport Harbor Fieldwork. We mapped potential transport site Number Nine. 
*     October 8: The Archaeology Month presentation, The "Not the Gaspee" Shipwrecks of Warwick's Occupessatuxet Cove, was a great success. Co-sponsored by Rep. Joe McNamara, the presentation described the two ships that the dozen RIMAP-trained volunteers documented the previous July. 
*     October 28: RIMAP at "Search for Endeavour​" event at NYC Australian Consulate. RIMAP Director Abbass, made a presentation to the interested attendees, at the  event, and created a display of five 18th-century artifacts that came from four diffierent potential transport sites in Newport Harbor. 
*     November 3-7 - Fifth World Maritime Technology Conference, sponsored by the Society for Naval Architects and Marine Engineers in Providence. RIMAP presentation scheduled for Nov. 5. (Conference details at
*     November 6-8 - Rhode Island ComicCon, Providence. RIMAP will promote RIMAP's studies of the Cook/Endeavour connection to Kirk/Enterprise in an effort to attract that younger audience, especially "Trekkies." Details TBA. (Check out
*     Intermittent local speaking engagements. Contact us if you are interested to sponsor one.


Plus RIMAP's ongoing historical research, artifact management, general administration, public outreach, product marketing, and facility development plans. ​

Special 2015 notices


Captain Cook and his explorations of the world were the model for Gene Roddenberry when he created the first Star Trek television show in the 1960s. The display at the RIMAP ComicCon booth presented this story to 17,000 attendees. Text of the handout is presented on the Capt. Cook page of this website.

FRIDAY, May 29 ~  

In 1790 the Rhode Island state convention failed to ratify the United States Constitution when it met at Little Rest in Kingstown in early March.  The second session in Newport ratified the Constitution on May 29, making Rhode Island the last of the original colonies to do so.  The vote was close, 34 to 32. The deciding factor was that, if Rhode Island failed to join the union, it would be treated as a foreign country for import and export duties. Business concerns trumped the local need for independence, and Rhode Island became the 13th state. 
This was also the 30th anniversary of the day I moved to Rhode Island and made it my home -- D. K. A. 


​On May 4, 1776, the Rhode Island General Assembly disavowed allegiance to King George III. This was the pre-cursor to the Declaration of Independence two months later.​

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HMS Gaspee Documentary

The third showing of In Search of HMS Gaspee was held at 2 p.m. Sunday April 12, at Linden Place in Bristol. This was a film about Rhode Island's early "spark" of the American Revolution. Following the documentary, a panel discussion featured RI State Rep. Joseph M. McNamara, Dr. Kathy Abbass, Executive Director of the Rhode Island Marine Archaeology Project, and Dr. John Concannon, Archivist for the Gaspee Days Events. 

This was the third showing, with a great turnout on one of the first nice spring days after such a challenging winter.

The RIMAP Annual Meeting was held 3-4 p.m. on Saturday march 28, in the Portsmouth Town Council Chambers. The public meeting followed the immediately preceding Board Meetings of RIMAP and the Cook Foundation, in which the number of possible RIMAP board members increased from 7 to 17. At the public meeting RIMAP members adopted the 2015 budget, elected board members, reviewed past activities and future plans, and witnessed the Volunteer Recognition Ceremony. The Volunteer of the Year for 2014 was Greg DeAscentis. Success !

Part of the discussion included the long-term plans for RIMAP's facility, how the RIMAP and Cook Foundation missions are integrated, and until RIMAP identifies the Endeavour, how the Cook mission is dormant.


Completed RIMAP Classes:

Introduction to Marine Archaeology: 9 a.m. - 4 p.m., Saturday May 2 ($50): Second offering in 2015. Unfortunately this class was cancelled. 

Triage Artifact Conservation: 9 a.m. - 4 p.m., Saturday and Sunday Apr. 18-19 ($100): Instructor Kathleen McCormick, B.F.A. - The private consultant and Director of Museum Conservation for the St. Augustine (Florida) Lighthouse and Museum will discuss the basics of artifact management & how to stabilize different types of water-logged materials for study, storage & display. This is a two-day course with hands-on practicum using cultural materials from RIMAP sites. Success !​ 

Rhode Island in the Revolution:  9 a.m. - 12 noon, Saturday Apr. 11 ($25): Instructor Kathy Abbass, Ph.D. - Why Rhode Island was pivotal to Patriot success in the Revolution, and what RIMAP is doing to share that history with the public. Success !

How to measure a cannon: 1 - 4 .m., Saturday, Apr. 11, ($25): Instructor Joe Zarzynski, M.S., M.A. - The archaeological surveying of 18th Century British artillery found on land and underwater, with practicum on a local Revolutionary War cannon.​ Success !

Museum Theory and RIMAP's plans for Butts Hill Fort: 9 a.m. - 12 noon, Saturday Mar. 21 ($25): Instructors Elliott Caldwell, M.A., M.L.I.S., Kathy Abbass, Ph.D. - Ethics and museum management. Also introduces what RIMAP will need to know as we build an artifact management facility and museum. Success !

Sharing Shipwrecks: 1 - 4 p.m., Saturday Mar. 21 ($25): Instructor Joy Elvin, M.A. - Underwater preserves and other ways to enjoy our submerged cultural heritage. Why that heritage preservation is important and how it relates to the public. Success !

Introduction to Marine Archaeology: 9 a.m. - 4 p.m., Saturday Feb. 28 ($50): Instructor Kathy Abbass, Ph.D.​  How marine archaeologists work, including remote sensing, field methods, legal issues, data analysis, documentation, and RIMAP protocols. Open to the general public. Required for RIMAP volunteer participation. ​Success !

Site Mapping I: 9 a.m. - 12 noon, Saturday Mar. 7 ($25): Instructors Kerry Lynch, Ph.D., and Bill Burns, M.A. - How to collect and interpret archaeological data. Introduces the selection of a site datum, installation of baselines, linear, circular, and pendulum searches. Success !

Site Mapping II: 1 - 4 p.m., Saturday Mar. 7 ($25): Instructors Kerry Lynch, Ph.D., and Bill Burns, M.A. - Introduces the installation of grids and drawing from them.  Both Site Mapping classes demonstrate how to interpret field data and create simple site maps. Recommended for those who participate in RIMAP diving fieldwork. Success !​

Ship Construction: 9 a.m. - 12 noon, Saturday Mar. 14 ($25): Instructor Kathy Abbass, Ph.D. - What marine archaeologists need to know about how boats are built to interpret historic shipwreck sites. Success !​

Measured Drawing for Archaeologists: 1 - 4 p.m., Saturday Mar. 14 ($25): Instructor Charles Kovach, M.A. - How to prepare professional quality drawings of archaeological specimens for general documentation and publication.  Recommended for those interested to help with RIMAP's artifact collection. Success !​​

RIMAP has a great new group of new trainees -- and our new location at the Warren Masonic Temple is spectacularly appropriate, since the ceiling in that 18th-century building is reputedly supported by timbers salvaged from the Revolutionary War ships we study.


​THE YEAR 2014

​Premier of Gaspee Documentary November 13

A documentary about the search for the Gaspee will be shown at 7 p.m., Thurday, November 13, at the Pilgrim Senior Center, 27 Pilgrim Parkway, Warwick, Rhode Island. A discussion will follow about the history of why the ship was lost in 1772, what efforts have been made to find her, what will happen if she is found, and especially the 50th anniversary in 2015 of Warwick's Gaspee Days celebration. 

In the years leading up to the Revolution, British ships from the Royal Navy tried to stop Rhode Island ships that did not pay the required customs duties. In 1772 HMS Gaspee chased the Rhode Island schooner Hannah from Newport up the Providence River, but the Gaspee ran aground on Namquid Point in Warwick. While the Gaspee waited for the rising tide, a group of Americans under the leadership of John Brown rowed from Providence and burned the Gaspee to the waterline. This act of resistance is sometimes considered to be the first event leading up to the American Revolution. 

The 38-minute Gaspee documentary was organized by Rhode Island State Representative Joe McNamara. McNamara chairs the RI House Committee on Health, Education and Welfare and has recently been elected as the Chair of the state Democratic Party. He has been actively involved in the annual Gaspee Days events, and said he wanted to produce an educational film about the ongoing search for the HMS Gaspee in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of the Gaspee Days celebration. 

Rhode Island Marine Archaeology Project Director D. K. Abbass will be among the discussion panel speakers following the premier. The story of the Gaspee is featured in RIMAP's multi-volume study of Rhode Island in the Revolution. Abbass will announce a week-long July 2015 RIMAP-sponsored field school to study a shallow-water shipwreck located near the presumed loss of (but that is not) the Gaspee in Warwick, and will offer details about how the public may participate in that investigation.

The November 13 premier was free and open to the public.​

This was a fun event !!​

The Gaspee documentary was shown again on Monday evening, December 29, 2014, at the RI Yacht Club. RIMAP's involvement in the documentary, as well as the planned 50th anniversary events around the 2015 Gaspee Days celebration, will include a week-long field session (July 13-16) to map as many as three vessels abandoned near Namquid Point where the Gaspee was lost in 1772. These vessels are NOT the Gaspee, so this project is called "The Search for Not-the-Gaspee​." Anyone interested to volunteer should contact RIMAP for further information.

And there was another screening in Bristol scheduled for April 12, as noted above.

RIMAP Signs Agreement with the
Australian National Maritime Museum

The Australian National Maritime Museum is now a partner in RIMAP's continuing study of the British transport fleet scuttled in Newport Harbor in 1778. They will help to find the Lord Sandwich transport that had been Capt. Cook's Endeavour​ Bark. On Thursday morning, October 10, RIMAP Executive Director, Dr. Kathy Abbass, and Kevin Sumption, Director of the ANMM, signed an MOU that set in motion the first phase of the partnership. The signing took place at the Australian Embassy in Washington, DC, and The Hon. Kim Beazley, Australian Ambassador to the United States, was the witness. In the days following the ceremony, Abbass and Sumption continued planning future activities that the two institutions will share.

Front Row: Kevin Sumption, Dr. Kathy Abbass, The Hon. Kim Beazley​
​(Photo Courtesy Australian Embassy to the US)

The MOU signed this day was to support RIMAP's research design, beginning with further archival work to determine if the British transport logs can be found. The next phase of the work, planned for summer 2015,  will include further archaeological fieldwork in Newport to locate and map any remaining 18th-century sites, one of which might be the Endeavour so revered by the Australian public. By the end of 2014, RIMAP had mapped 8 sites of the 13 and had located another. Once we are certain that we have found as many as still survive, then we will turn to more detailed studies of selected sites. Such increasingly intrusive research will require a proper lab for conservation and storage of any artifacts retrieved, so at the same time we are working toward creating such a facility, as shown on our home page. 


On Sunday, September 28, RIMAP found the 9th eighteenth-century shipwreck site in Newport Harbor. It appears to be one of the 13 British transports sunk in the days leading up to the Revolutionary War's Battle of Rhode Island in August of 1778. Among those British transports was the Lord Sandwich, previously known as Capt. James Cook's Endeavour Bark. 

​The RIMAP team that discovered the new site in Newport were Rhode Islanders D. K. (Kathy) Abbass, Greg DeAscentis, Grayson DeAscentis, and Tom Freeman, plus RIMAP members from Connecticut Steve Bastien I and Mark Wegiel, and Joseph W. Zarzynski from New York. Information about how the Endeavour came to be in Newport during the Revolution, details of why the transport fleet was sunk, and RIMAP's maps of the first eight shipwreck sites, are shown on the Cook button on this website. 

Dr. Abbass, RIMAP's Principal Investigator, commented: 

"If all of these 18th-century sites are transports and not other vessels lost in Newport harbor under other conditions, then RIMAP has found 9 of the 13 sunk there in 1778, and that means we have a 69% chance that we already have found the Lord Sandwich ex Endeavour. Now we must find as many of the other 4 ships as modern technology will allow, and then we will begin the tasks to determine which sites might be which ships. That identification will take careful excavation, sampling, and recording of artifacts and structural details. At the same time that we have been working to discover the sites, we have also been working to create a facility to conserve the waterlogged materials that such techniques will retrieve, a place to store them, and especially a place to share this exciting story with the wider world. And even if we don't find the Endeavour (or can't prove it is her), then these 9 sites, along with the 3 Royal Navy frigates RIMAP studied in the late 1990s, means that Rhode Island is the home to the largest fleet of Revolutionary War shipwrecks ever found." 

RIMAP's membership should be proud that our volunteers have made such a contribution to maritime history, and that the search for the Endeavour has achieved another milestone.

We couldn't have achieved this success without all the help from our volunteers and supporters. Please contact us if you would like to be part of our team!​


To celebrate, consider this book as a holiday gift to your friends who always wanted to be Indiana Jones. 
It tells what life is really like to be an  ARCHAEOLOGIST  !!!

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The author of The Dead Beat and This Book is Overdue! turns her piercing eye to the real-life avatars of Indiana Jonesthe archaeologists who sort through the muck and mire of swamps, landfills, graveyards, development sites, and harbors to reclaim history. Lives in Ruins is a field trip with a set of rakish characters, as Johnson digs and drinks alongside contemporary archaeologists, including our own D.K. Abbass, pursues them from the Mediterranean to Newport, R.I., to Machu Picchu, and excavates their lives. What drives them, she finds, is not the money (meager) or the jobs (scarce) or the working conditions (dangerous), but their passion for the stories that would otherwise be lost.

Available November 11, 2014, wherever books are sold. List price is $25.99.

“The great pleasure with which I read this book took me back to when I was eight years old and wanted to be an archaeologist. Marilyn Johnson does a wonderful job uncovering the delight in this tough, important, and exhilarating profession.”
— Ian Frazier, author of Great Plains, Travels in Siberia, and Humor Me: An Anthology of Funny Contemporary Writing

"World travel, drinking, lust in the dust—our lives are all in ruins, indeed, and Johnson reveals why we wouldn't want it any other way."
-- Sarah Parcak, National Geographic Society Fellow and author of Satellite Remote Sensing for Archaeology

“Many archeologists credit Indiana Jones with sparking their passion. In this lively love letter [to their profession] Johnson may well inspire a new generation to take up the calling.”
--Publishers Weekly Starred Review

Links to Amazon, Barnes & Noble and independent bookstores at: ​
The reviews that came out after publication of Johnson' book often featured her comment that as RIMAP Executive Director, I live now on less than $1,000 a month, and most of it comes from my Social Security check. She also mentions that in the early years, while trying to establish us as a viable organization, I supplemented my meager RIMAP income by doing odd jobs, including cleaning private homes in Newport. That personal history seems to rate special comment, and my attitude is: If you agree to work for pay it is your responsibility is to do it well, regardless of the nature of the work. So doing a good a job as an archaeologist is no more worthy than doing a good job as a char woman. 

RIMAP is an organization of volunteers, and the lack of adequate funding just means that the Executive Director is a volunteer, too.  Please don't think that because we are all volunteers that we are ignorant about what research needs to be done, in what order, and the responsibilities our activities generate. Our lack of funding means we move very slowly, not that we don't know our business. And in the study of shipwrecks, and especially the "Search for Cook's Endeavour," ​caution is not a bad thing. 

PS: I only hugged the 11th Earl of Sandwich after the Countess hugged me first!​

PPS:  Last fall Johnson's book made the NY Times best seller list in its category.


​​First Visit to RIMAP by Kevin Sumption, 
Director of the Australian National Maritime Museum 

March 24-26 saw a whirlwind of meetings between Mr. Sumption and a number of local Rhode Island groups that represent RIMAP's support network. These included local and national elected officials, research institutions, tourism specialists, and RIMAP colleagues and volunteers. The Australian interest is to participate in RIMAP's work that may result in the discovery of Capt. Cook's Endeavour Bark, sunk in Newport Harbor in 1778. RIMAP's long-range plan is to create a facility to manage the artifacts that such work will generate and that will present our research results to a world-wide audience. The March meetings established shared goals for RIMAP and the ANMM, and now we are in a process of determining how best to achieve them. Watch for notices under the "Capt. Cook" button on this website to see updates as the RIMAP/ANMM partnership develops. [This has been accomplished, starting with the MOU described above.]

This was the first visit by Kevin Sumption, in which RIMAP demonstrated that Rhode Island has resources that are important to support the "Search for Cook's Endeavour" and that RIMAP has networked with colleagues, politicians, and tourism experts as we are putting together the larger plan to pursue the needed research and share its results with the public. This initial meeting led to detailed negotiations (ongoing) that resulted in the signing of the MOU mentioned above.

RIMAP Annual Meeting

Sunday, May 18 (3-4 p.m.), Council Chambers, Portsmouth Town Hall, 2200 East Main Road. Free and open to the public.

The membership meets annually to adopt budget, elect board members, set priorities, and recognize volunteers. At the same time, we also have the Annual Meeting of our sister organization, the Foundation for the Preservation of Captain Cook's Ships.​


RIMAP Classes (2014) 
Saturday April 5 (9-4):      Introduction to Marine Archaeology
Saturday April 26 (9-12);  Site Mapping I 
Saturday April 26 (1-4):    Site Mapping II 
Saturday May 3 (9-12):     Artifact Management 
Saturday May 3 (1-4):       Measured Drawing 
Saturday May 31 (9-12):   Rhode Island in the Revolution 
Saturday May 31 (1-4):     Museum Theory & RIMAP's Plans for Butts Hill Fort                                        
Saturday June 7 (9-4):       Introduction to Marine Archaeology (2nd offering) 
All classes were held at the Masonic Temple, 81 Sprague Street, Portsmouth, RI. Pre-registration recommended. 
Details and application are found under the "Participate" button of this website.  
Or contact or call (401) 253-2094.​

All of our 2014 classes were successful.

Lecture by Douglas Brooks
Thursday, July 17 
(6:30-7:30 p.m.)
Newport Public Library
300 Spring Street
Free and open to the public

Doug Brooks is a Vermont shipwright who has apprenticed to five different traditional Japanese boat builders. Although this craft is dying out in Japan, Doug is one of the few international artisans who keep this tradition alive. The lecture is sponsored by RIMAP but included on the calendar of events for the 2014 Newport Black Ships Festival.​

RIMAP sponsored lecture with the plan that it would be part of Newport's annual Black Ships Festival that celebrates Perry's treaty with Japan. Unfortunately the festival organizers gave us the date, which coincided with the opening cocktail party. However, we attracted an interested audience, and Doug Brooks gave an articulate, knowledgeable, and informative presentation. ​

(especially under water) and
Joseph W. Zarzynski, M.A., RPA
1-2:30 p.m.
Sunday, August 17 
RI Historical Preservation Commission Offices
The Senate Chambers, Old State House
150 Benefit Street, Providence

Joseph W. Zarzynski, an archaeologist from Saratoga Springs, New York, will discuss how to develop heritage tourism potential in Rhode Island while at the same time protect historic sites, especially those underwater. Zaryznski was one of the submerged cultural resource directors for the Lake George, New York, shipwreck preserve system, and was the Project Director for the archaeological study of the 1758 Land Tortoise radeau​ site. The Land Tortoise is the oldest intact warship in North America and he led the campaign to designate the vessel as a National Historic Landmark, one of only six shipwrecks on that list. Zarzynski was also the Project Director for the archaeological studies and preserve development of other submerged cultural resources in Lake George, including a fleet of 18th-century bateaux, a marine railway that allowed early 20th-century wooden vessels to be carried between the overland rail system and the lake, an early 20th-century steam launch, and an underwater classroom. All of these were opened to the public in ways that also protected the sites. Currently he is directing a project for the French and Indian War Society to study historic and replica cannon at the Fort William Henry Museum at Lake George, a study that will also enhance heritage tourism at that destination. Joseph Zarzynski's New York experience will provide useful models for how Rhode Island may share its historic submerged cultural resources with the public (especially shipwrecks), and at the same time protect them. Free and open to the public​

This was the fifth annual RIMAP-sponsored meeting about how heritage tourism in Rhode Island may be developed to the public's benefit, and especially to support local historical and preservation societies. The first three meetings focussed on how to share the overlooked local history related to the American Revolution, and Mr. Zarzynski's presentation gave specific suggestions about how to implement those plans.

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Miscellaneous photos
Taylor's Shipwrecks of RI cover.bmp
​July 6 - Book presentation

Zarzynski class with Pallas and Tantae.jpg
Joseph W. Zarzynski teaching "How to Measure a Cannon" with Pallas and Tantae, French guns from the American Revolution at the Federal Blues building in Warren.

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