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 A note to those interested in financially supporting RIMAP's work:



RIMAP is an approved 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization, so our 
donors may take the legal tax deduction based on US federal law. 
Please contact us at for further details.

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The need for an artifact management facility and the next phase of research

 10 a.m., Wednesday May 4, 

the Rhode Island Historical Preservation and Heritage Commission 

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


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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*  All trainees must be RIMAP members.

*  All 2016 RIMAP classes will be held in the Masonic Hall, 39 Baker St. Warren, RI, 02885. ​

(This building is reputedly built from timbers salvaged from Revolutionary War ships sunk in Rhode Island!)

*  Pre-registration is recommended. Confirmation an​d further details will be sent by snail mail.

Please copy and fill out the form below and mail it with a check made out to RIMAP: 

RIMAP, Box 1492, Newport, RI 02840.

Or contact us at to ask for an emailed copy

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Please sign me up for the following 2016 classes:

_____  Saturday Mar. 12 (9-4) - Introduction to Marine Archaeology ($50): 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.

_____  Saturday Mar. 19 (9-12) - Site Mapping I ($25): 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.

_____  Saturday Mar. 19 (1-4) - Site Mapping II ($25): 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. 

_____  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. 

_____  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.

_____  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.

_____  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. 

_____  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.

_____  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.

_____ 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.

_____ 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.

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

_____  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).

__X__  2016 RIMAP Dues ($25) If not already paid for 2016




Name___________________________________________________________ Diver ___ Non-diver ___


Address_________________________________City_______________ State______  ZIP____________ 


E-mail  _____________________________________________________ Phone____________________​


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Applications will be sent to qualified RIMAP volunteers.

 For further information contact us at:

(401) 253-2094  ~  or  ~

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.


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.


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.


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.


Sept. TBA - Newport: Continued work on 18th-century Newport Harbor transport fleet. Less than 60' deep from the research vessel for RIMAP-trained volunteers who are experienced divers, with special recommendation that each complete RIMAP's Site Mapping classes. Previous RIMAP fieldwork experience or advanced standing is required for participation. Limited space available for non-diving team support.


Intermittent Statewide: RIMAP also documents unidentified bits of shipwrecks that emerge at times around Rhode Island shores. This is triage archaeology because the structures are usually quickly covered after they are exposed. RIMAP-trained volunteers are on call for such unpredictable work.

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

Thanks again for your support !​


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A possible RIMAP future ?

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More news to come. Please contact us for information about our long-range plans !

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The Rhode Island Marine Archaeology Project is a not-for-profit membership organization that trains volunteers to conduct maritime history and marine archaeology research under professional direction.  The RIMAP professional staff also offers a wide range of cultural resource management services to serve commercial needs.

Please contact us to join our volunteer corps, or to find out more about staff specialties:
Snail mail:
RIMAP, Box 1492
Newport, RI 02840
Phone: (401) 253-2094 is our landline.
We also use Skype.
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Marine archaeology is usually thought to be the study of shipwrecks, and Rhode Island has lost more vessels per square mile than any other state.  However, marine archaeology also studies ship technologies, the social structures of the crews on board, and the history of the economic systems on land that supported those ships and crews.    

RIMAP has studied many of these lost vessels, including sailing ships, steamships, and naval ships.  Of special interest have been those lost in our state during the American Revolution. Every event in that war had a maritime component because one side or the other, and sometimes both, had to travel by water to meet.

RIMAP has also studied many of the marine industries found along our shores, as well as the inland sources of raw materials, labor, and capital that supported those industries.  Our work has been available in local libraries, and through RIMAP's publications.

Rhode Island is called the "Ocean State" because every local community contributed to the state's maritime past.  You will find a lot of such Rhode Island stories on this website.  ​If you are interested to help RIMAP tell more of them, then please join us!

Note:  Our training and research activities are open to the public, but those under 18 years old should be aware that this project is not designed for youth.  Instead, our focus is the adult audience committed to history and historic preservation, and participation for our younger volunteers requires the presence of a parent or guardian.
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RIMAP wishes to thank the following companies and organizations for their generous support over the past 20+ years:
Aquidneck Island Connect
Aquidneck Marine Conservation
Aquidneck Mooring Company
Australian National Maritime Museum
Bateaux Below, Inc.
Bay State Integrated Technology, Inc.
Brown University
Department of Defense Legacy Fund
East Bay Diving
Hay Library
Island Boat Services
John Carter Brown Library
John Nicholas Brown House
Marine Search and Survey
National Embroidery
National Oceanic and Atmospheric
    Administration (NOAA)
National Park Service Battlefield Protection 
Naval Station Newport
Naval Undersea Warfare Center
Newport Diving Center
Newport Historical Society
Ocean State Scuba
PDQ Printing
Pet Sitters
Polaris Imaging
RI Committee for the Humanities
RI Sea Grant
RI Historic Preservation and
    Heritage Commission
Roger Williams University
Salve Regina University
Small Business Computers
Studio Paradiso
University of Rhode Island 

And all our loyal RIMAP donors and volunteers!  
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ABOUT THIS WEBSITE:  The website is hosted by Bay State Integrated Technology, Inc., courtesy of Robert Borges.  All text and graphic layouts by D. K. Abbass (RIMAP Executive Director and Principal Investigator) and all is copyrighted as the intellectual property of the Rhode Island Marine Archaeology Project.  Illustration credits are given in the "Sources" or in specific sections.  Please give credit to RIMAP if you use our information.​

WEBSITE CONTENTS:  (Please click on these titles, or the buttons above, to find the information listed for each page.  Note that the longer pages with many illustrations may take a few seconds to load.)​
General Introduction and Contacts
News and Coming Events
RIMAP Supporters 
General Introduction
RIMAP Mission and Goals
RIMAP Leadershp 
General Introduction
Membership Form
Fieldwork Schedule 
General Introduction
Fact Sheet on Rhode Island in the Revolution
Fact Sheet on RIMAP and Butt's Hill Fort
Shipwreck Facts
See also "Director's Cuts" for more.
General Introduction
FAQs about the Search for ENDEAVOUR
An essay to explain the legal protections on the transport fleet
Heritage Trails
Director's Cuts
Suggested Bibliographies and Sources for Illustrations
RIMAP publications
Other marketing
All about RIMAP's past activities​
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