Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content

LOGO Capture - small.PNG        RHODE ISLAND FACTS       Copyright 2013 Capture.PNG

This section offers general information about Rhode Island history and related archaeological research, especially RIMAP's studies of the importance of the maritime economy to the colony and later to the state.  After all, Rhode Island's nickname is "The Ocean State" !   For specific details relating to Capt. Cook's men and ships that found their ways to Rhode Island in the late 18th-century, and RIMAP's progress in those studies, see the "Capt. Cook" and "Endeavour FAQs" sections of this website.  

For other topics, see the "Director's Cut" section. 
 
Red Line 6 Inch Horizontal with Narrow Black Border Capture.PNG 
Blue Line Horizontal With Wide Black Border - Capture.PNG 
 3 Logo Small Capture.PNG       Fact Sheet on RIMAP and the Revolutionary War Copyright 2013 Capture.PNG 
 
Rhode Island is usually overlooked in histories of the Revolutionary War, despite the fact that we were the first colony to renounce allegiance to the King of England, on May 4, 1776. 
 
The importance of the 1778 Siege of Newport and Battle of Rhode Island is usually underestimated in histories of the Revolution, despite the fact that these events were the first cooperative effort between the French and the American forces and the last major confrontation in the New England colonies before the focus of the war turned to the south.  In addition, Rhode Island provided a great number of the War's leadership.  Esek Hopkins was the first Commander for the early Continental Navy and Rhode Island provided more captains for those ships than any other state.  Rhode Island native Nathanael Greene was Washington's second-in-command.
 
American and British Positions Capture.PNG
American and British Locations 
 
Rhode Island has a larger fleet of sunken Revolutionary War shipwrecks than any other state, and RIMAP has found many of these sites.  The ships lost include those from the British Royal Navy and transport service, the Continental Navy, American privateers, and many commercial vessels.  Only one French ship may have been lost, although a lot of French equipment was abandoned in state waters.  Most of these ships were purposely run aground and burned to avoid capture, but a number of other ships were lost during the Revolution due to marine peril.
 
     DesBarres chart showing Royal Navy ship losses in the 1778 Battle of Rhode Island
DesBarres Charts Bordered - Ship losses Capture.PNG
Most of the British ships were lost between July 29 and August 5, 1778, a period leading up to the Siege of Newport and Battle of Rhode Island.  This included four Royal Navy frigates burned and sunk along the west coast of Aquidneck Island, three smaller armed vessels burned and sunk in the Sakonnet River, the two (possibly three) Royal Navy ships and thirteen British transports sunk in Newport's Outer Harbour; most of these did not burn.  As many as 30 smaller vessels may have been sunk in Newport's Inner Harbour and later raised.
 
The British Royal Navy ships were burned and sunk to avoid capture by a fleet of much larger French ships.  The privately owned British transports were sunk to blockade and protect Newport.  Among the transports sunk in Newport was the LORD SANDWICH, used also as a prison ship.  This vessel had been Captain Cook's ENDEAVOUR Bark.  See the details in the Capt. Cook section of this website.
 
There are more than a thousand houses, structures, and military, industrial, and archaeological sites in Rhode Island that date from 1783 and before.   Many of these were important to the Revolutionary war effort and some have been organized into heritage trails around the themes of (1) Revolutionary War forts in public parks, (2) hospitals, (3) industries that contributed to the local economy, and (4) communication and transport.  Sets of the RIMAP trail guides were distributed to all the libraries, historical societies, and other venues throughout the state.  For further information, see the "Go See Tour" page.
 
The 1778 Battle of RI
Battle of RI contemporary map bordered Capture.PNGRIMAP has published many reports on the Revolution in our state, including short articles, pamphlets, government reports, and major documents.   All of these are available at selected libraries and most will be made available for purchase through the RIMAP office.  See the list in the "Sales" section of this website.  The most important RIMAP publication series is entitled Rhode Island in the Revolution.  The first four volumes in that series were written for the National Park Service American Battlefield Protection Program.  They include:  (1) a narrative history of events in the state leading up to and during the War, (2) a survey of the ships lost, (3) a list of existing properties, sites, and features in Rhode Island that date from 1783 and before, and (4) supporting materials and preliminary essays on selected short topics. 
 
The fifth volume presents transcriptions of the bills and receipts, currently located at the John Carter Brown Library, that relate to the ships owned and managed by the Brown family business in Providence.  This information is useful to the interpretation of the local maritime economy and provides details to understand the construction, repair, and fitting out of vessels that served Rhode Island during the Revolution.  The details for part six have been transcribed from further Brown business archives and are currently being edited for publication; meanwhile, collection of data sets from the John Carter Brown Library is ongoing.
 
The research at the John Carter Brown Library archives of business materials unearthed a particularly interesting bit of information about the burning of the GASPEE at Namquit Point in the Providence River in 1772.  This is sometimes considered to be the first major event leading up to the Revolutionary War. 
 
19th-Century Painting: Burning of the GASPEE
Burning of the Gaspee Bordered Capture.PNG 
Colonial Rhode Island businesses were well known for smuggling goods past the British customs officials, and in the early 1770s the Royal Navy sent vessels here to stop them.  The British crews were not only following orders, but they shared in the reward for every vessel they captured that carried such contraband. 
 
The GASPEE was one of these British ships, well known for interfering with trade, and the HANNAH was a local trader well known for carrying goods around Rhode Island, and sometimes travelling further afield.  In June of 1772, when the HANNAH left Newport, the GASPEE pursued her up the Providence River.  The HANNAH crossed shallow Namquit Spit on a falling tide, and when the GASPEE followed, the Royal Navy vessel ran aground.  The crew checked to see that she wasn't damaged and then waited for the tide to turn so she could float free.
 
When the HANNAH arrived in Providence with news of the grounded GASPEE, a group of men led by John Brown assembled, rowed down the Providence River, and attacked the GASPEE.  They shot her commander, Lt Dudingston, captured the crew, and set the Royal Navy vessel on fire. This events is celebrated every June as "GASPEE Days" in Warwick, Rhode Island.
 
John Brown was one of the brothers in the same family that owned a prominent business (the ship's business records that RIMAP has been publishing).  The British government offered a large reward for the identification of the perpetrators who burned the GASPEE and shot Duddingston.  Although local officials had a good idea who was responsible, no one came forward.  It wasn't until more than 50 years later that the last living member of the group identified publicly who had been involved.  Lt. Dudingston survived his wounds and later became an Admiral in the Royal Navy, and the GASPEE was later scavenged and then her location lost to history.
 
RIMAP research into the Brown family business records has discovered that in the late spring of 1772 the HANNAH was carrying not only her regular cargoes of passengers, merchandise, and rum, but also a large amount of cash.  In that case, the capture of the HANNAH would have made the crew of the GASPEE very rich, and that would have made crossing a dangerous shallows at Namquit Spit worth the risk.                                      Logo Capture - small.PNG
 
 

  Blue Line Horizontal With Wide Black Border - Capture.PNG     Blue Line Vertical with Narrow Black Border and White Space to Right - Capture.PNG     

3 Logo Small Capture.PNG
    Fact Sheet on RIMAP and Butts Hill Fort   Copyright 2013 Capture.PNG                  

 

Butts Hill Fort is the largest extant Revolutionary War earthwork in southeastern New England.  It housed American, British, Hessian, and French troops and was the center of the American line during the 1778 Battle of Rhode Island.  Butts Hill Fort is now a National Historic Landmark. 
 
                                                 French Map of North Aquid arrow to Butts Bordered Capture.PNGButts Hill Aerial - Small Narrow Border Capture.PNG
A French chart of 1780-1781 and Modern aerial view of the fort 
 
Following the end of the Revolutionary War, most of the earthworks were destroyed, but many of those that survive in Rhode Island are found in local parks, including Conanicut Battery, Miantonomi Hill, Green End, and Fort Barton.  Butts Hill Fort is by far the most magnificent, but in the worst condition.
 
In the early 20th century the Butts Hill area was platted for 200 house lots, but preservationists bought the property in 1923 and donated it to the Newport Historical Society.  The deed of that transfer was restricted so that the property must always be called Butts Hill Fort, that it not be developed for commercial purposes, and if the Newport Historical Society could not manage the property properly, then its title would revert to the State of Rhode Island. 
RIMAP Butts Hill Fort Site Map Bordered Capture.PNG 
                           RIMAP's master plan for a museum/facility at Butts Hill Fort park
 

During the Great Depression, the property reverted to the State.  The State later sold it to the Town of Portsmouth for $1, and the property became an important location during the Bicentennial years.  Since then Portsmouth has heroically tried to manage the Butts Hill Fort as a town park, but the lack of resources has meant that the property is now neglected and suffers intermittent vandalism.  The center of the fort has been leveled and in the past was used for playing fields, but there is a heavy growth of trees that obscures the earthwork itself, and that blocks the views of the battlefield.  Unfortunately, the tree roots damage the earthwork's structure, and are especially destructive when large trees topple in the high winds associated with local storms and tear out the ground around.

 

The Rhode Island Marine Archaeology Project (RIMAP) is a 501-c-3 not-for profit volunteer organization.  Although we are best known for shipwreck studies, all of the Revolutionary War events on land had a maritime or naval component that contributed to the military aspects of the war.  Of particular interest have been Butts Hill Fort and the Battle of Rhode Island., and especially the many ships that were involved in the Battle or sunk in the days leading up to it.  And of course all of Rhode Island is known as the "Ocean State," which means all of Rhode Island made contributions to the state's maritime economy.  That is why RIMAP plans to build its museum at Portsmouth's Butts Hill.

                                        Looking out of the current Entrance to the Fort in 2011
Butts Hill Entrance Border Capture.PNGRIMAP received a National Park Service American Battlefield Protection Grant to create a management plan for Butts Hill Fort.  During two public meetings in Portsmouth, the local residents provided guidance that was included in a plan to outline what should be done to provide permanent protection and support for Butts Hill Fort.  Part of the plan includes (1) clearing the threatening overgrowth (including large trees) that are damaging the fort's earthen structure,(2) installing trails and interpretive signs; (3) leaving intact a portion of the wild section that does not threaten the earthwork for use as a nature preserve; and (4) a museum and artifact management facility that will share Rhode Island's internationally significant history with a world-wide audience.  Since that plan was completed, RIMAP has added a fifth goal to install interpretive paintings on the adjacent water towers to illustrate local events at the fort during the Revolution.  Other suggestions will emerge as this plan matures.
 
The Town of Portsmouth is the owner of the Butts Hill Fort property but does not have the resources necessary to manage it properly.  The Rhode Island Marine Archaeology Project has the expertise, integrity, and experience to implement the Butts Hill Fort management plan.  In addition, RIMAP's studies have determined that many of Capt. Cook's men and ships were in Rhode Island during the Revolution, and that his Endeavour was sunk in Newport Harbor to protect the town in the days leading up to the 1778 Battle of Rhode Island.  Since Butts Hill Fort was the center of the American line during that battle, it will be appropriate for the museum/facility to include not only Rhode Island maritime history and our importance in the Revolution, but the stories of all those ships and men associated with James Cook, the greatest explorer in world history.  Such stories may be the financial "hooks" that will fund the park's proper use, and that will attract national and international support and tourism interest.
 Cook Portrait Bordered Capture.PNG
Cook Statues Around the World Border Capture.PNG 
Cook Monuments Around the World Border Capture.PNG 
Capt. James Cook and a selection of places around the world that show the international interest in his voyages.  Rhode Island should be included among them !
 
RIMAP has therefore asked the Portsmouth Town Council to join in a long-term partnership to create a vibrant and robust Butts Hill Fort park that will be a credit to the local community and that will represent the pride Americans have in their history.  On February 8, 2010, the Portsmouth Town Council approved a conceptual agreement between the Rhode Island Marine Archaeology Project and Portsmouth.  In June 2012 RIMAP began the multiple-year research process to determine the feasibility for such a facility/museum to be financially self-supporting, and we have continued to create the partnerships that will lead to the proper management of Butts Hill Fort and its museum.  
 
The target date to open the building is June 3, 2019, the 250th anniversary of Cook at Tahiti to observe the Transit of Venus (the reason he began is voyages).
 Logo Capture - small.PNG
Red Line 6 Inch Horizontal with Narrow Black Border Capture.PNG 

  LOGO Capture - small.PNG      FACT SHEET ON RIMAP AND THE SHIPWRECKS AND OTHER SUBMERGED CULTURAL RESOURCES OF RHODE ISLAND Copyright 2013 Capture.PNG

                                                                                                                                              
RIMAP Sites in RI Bordered Capture.PNGRhode Island has more shipwrecks per square mile than any other state.  The "Ocean State" shipwrecks include pre-historic Native American craft (and submerged terrestrial sites), Colonial and Revolutionary War vessels, steamships and industrial barges, the 19th century gilded age of yachting, small craft and Naval ships of all periods and from a number of countries, and many vessels lost in the modern era.  RIMAP has mounted research teams to study a wide selection of them.  Rhode Island also has a larger fleet of Revolutionary War shipwrecks than any other state, and RIMAP has found and studied many of them, as well. 
 
RIMAP was incorporated in 1993 as a not-for-profit membership organization to study RI maritime history and submerged cultural resources.  It is open to all divers and non-divers who share RIMAP's goals.  See the membership information elsewhere on this website, and contact us for further details.  Since its beginning, RIMAP's educational program has trained more than 550 adults and teenagers in the basics of underwater archaeology and other related maritime topics; more than half of those trained have participated as RIMAP volunteers.
 
RIMAP has investigated more than 90 historical and archaeological sites in Rhode Island, not only underwater but on land, because maritime history and marine archaeology study not only ships but the industries that supported them.  We have conducted a number of remote sensing efforts around the state, we have mounted field teams to study selected sites, and our historical and field research indicates the potential for many more sites than we have had the resources to study to date.  Note that some of our work was preliminary and generated inconclusive results, and some will take multiple years to complete and are the focus of continued RIMAP investigation.  RIMAP's publications share this work with a wide audience, many of which are available for review at local libraries.  See also the list of publications available for sale to the public.
 
Note:  RIMAP's professional archaeologists have also conducted commercially-funded surveys in the state, region, and even internationally.  Please contact us for details about how our staff is available for such contract work.
 
 
The following list is organized geographically and gives a summary of RIMAP's past and current projects:  Note:  For many of the early efforts, members of the former Bateaux Below, Inc., of Lake George, New York, were RIMAP's partner.
 
Aquidneck Island - Western shore between Arnold Point and Coddington Cove:  Side scan survey along the shore inconclusive, other than the Revolutionary War frigate sites.  See each frigate description, below.
 
Barrington - Brickyard barge abandoned in the canal:  General location identified, preliminary non-disturbance measurements made, and area photographed.
 
Barrington - Brickyard canal debouchment into the Bay:  Preliminary non-disturbance map, and area photographed.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Remains of the Empire State
Empire State Remains - Border Capture.PNGBarrington - Town Beach:  Unidentified abandoned (probably modern) small craft, badly deteriorated; inconclusive investigation.
 
Barrington - Unidentified location for vessel origin:  Dugout canoe discovered by resident and taken to his home where it was tentatively identified as aboriginal and photographed.
 
Block Island - Non-disturbance survey of town sewage treatment plant outfall extension; area mapped and photographed.
 
Bristol - Off Independence Park:  Steamship EMPIRE STATE.  Red nun buoy locates site and part is exposed at low tide.  Visual survey only (note this site is dangerous due to metal snags and boat traffic)  RIMAP volunteer EMPIRE STATE Site Manager is Debby Dwyer.
                                                                                                                                                                                       Sandra Puchalski at Charlestown Breachway Site 2012
Charlestown Breachway 03 Bordered Capture.PNGCharlestown - At Breachway along Rhode Island Sound:  The unidentified vessel embedded in the dune has a history of previous exposures due to dune erosion.  Covered site was located by use of metal detector, but no excavation done due to danger of pit collapse.  Erosion of the dune in January 2012 revealed the site to allow measurements and photographs, but nothing diagnostic found to identify specific vessel.  This work partnered with Charlestown Historical Society.
 
Charlestown - Inland on private property:   Aircraft graveyard; Inventory provided by property owner.
 
East Greenwich - North tip of Potowamut:  Reported location of retrieval of potential pre-historic bison bone, then in custody of URI archaeology professor Dr. William Turnbaugh.  Shoreline investigation inconclusive.
           
East Greenwich - Potowamut at Hunt River: Walked part of shore where Revolutionary War materials from the nearby Greene forge had reportedly been dumped.  Inconclusive results.
 
Jamestown - Dutch Island:  Side scan survey along the western shore of Conanicut Island, from its southern tip to Dutch Island and around the island, with special attention to the portion where diver reports indicate a lost ship and its cargo.  Inconclusive.
 
Jamestown - Beavertail:  Foundation of 18th-century lighthouse visible; photographed and sketched.
 
Jamestown - Beavertail:  Shore where "cannons" reportedly seen in the area; walked shore and determined these were probably drains for inland buildings.
 
Little Compton - Unidentified beach debris photographed; possible building material rather than ship remains.
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Typical 18th-Century British Frigate
18th Century Frigate Bordered Capture.PNGMiddletown/Portsmouth line - HMS CERBERUS, Royal Navy frigate lost north of Macallister point near Portsmouth line:  Side scan survey and ground-truthing discovered debris field, including cannon and potential bit of ballast pile.  Non-disturbance mapping, photography, videography.  Partnered with NUWC, including special remote video feed to cadets on board ROSE replica, and RIMAP Site Manager was Rod Mather.
 
Middletown - HMS JUNO, Royal Navy frigate lost along south shore of Coddington Cove:  Side scan sonar survey inconclusive, but sub-bottom profile survey identified a potential target; later ground-truthing inconclusive.  Partnered with NUWC, including special remote video feed to cadets on board ROSE replica, and RIMAP Site Manager was Rod Mather.
 
Middletown - Coddington Cove, in southeast corner shallows:  Side scan sonar survey located targets but ground-truthing was inconclusive.  From the location, however, these may have been the remains of a fish trap that is grand-fathered in the Cove and still active, despite current Naval security.
           
Middletown - Coddington Cove:  The middle of Coddington Cove has been dredged to accommodate the Navy fleet's access to Piers I and II.  Future dredging of this area is planned to remove toxic materials known to be in the silt.  This dredging should not intrude on the JUNO, which we believe is closer to the shore than the planned removal.
 
Narragansett - Along Rhode Island Sound:  Unidentified small wooden structures sitting on Narragansett Beach photographed.
 
Narragansett - At mouth of Pettaquamscutt River:  Unidentified vessel (keel/frames/fasteners) exposed in dune photographed.
 
Narragansett - At Bonnet Point: Walk along shore inconclusive; ship reported to be off the beach was not found.
                                                                                                                                                                                            The Fage Chart (1776-1779 British)
Fage Chart of Aquidneck Island With Arrows to Transports and Frigates Bordered Capture.PNGNarragansett Bay - Between Newport and Jamestown, from Fort Adams to Beavertail Point:  Side scan sonar survey inconclusive, other than finding the well-known CAPE FEAR.
           
Narragansett Bay - Between Newport and Jamestown:  The 1930s cement vessel, CAPE FEAR, in channel too deep for RIMAP divers, but visited by others.  
 
Narragansett Bay - Around Gould Island:  Navy remote sensing done as part of 2008 AUVfest activities shows multiple targets that are torpedo shaped.  RIMAP's current archival research to determine how many torpedoes lost locally.
 
Narragansett Bay - Southeast of Prudence Island:  Navy remote sensing done as part of 2008 AUVfest activities found a modern vessel later identified by locals.  
 
Newport Harbor - Side scan sonar survey (multiple efforts with increasingly sophisticated equipment
and improved navigation control):  Multiple targets ground-truthed, and geology and modern debris identified; historic features listed separately here.
 
Newport - Narragansett Bay west of Coaster's Harbor Island:  Side scan sonar survey discovered a large anchor, not ground-truthed, but may be from a transport positioned to block the channel between Coaster's Harbor and Gull Rock.
 
Newport - Outer Harbor, eight unidentified 18th-century ship sites:  These are now ballast piles, most with associated artifacts scattered on the surface.  Two are north of Newport Bridge, one of which is partially covered with a modern steel barge and the other features at least two cannon.  Six sites are south of the bridge, and one features at least five cannon .  RIMAP measured the steel barge and then created preliminary non-disturbance site maps of the ballast piles including selected site photographs and videography. Small reveals at the two northern sites attempted to determine keel/keelson/frame structure, and RIMAP took wood, sediment, and ballast samples.  The visible artifacts at risk of thieves were removed from all sites and catalogued.  Note: These 18th-century sites may be part of the fleet of British transport sunk in 1778 to protect the British in Newport from the threatening French fleet, and one may be the former ENDEAVOUR of Cook's first circumnavigation.  RIMAP Field Supervisor for all transport archaeology in Newport Harbor is Dr. Kerry Lynch.
                                                                                                                                                                                           Contemporary Drawing of Endeavour
Contemporary Drawing Endeavour At Sea Bordered Capture.PNGNewport - Outer Harbor, two unidentified modern small craft: Ground-truthed only.
  
Newport - Outer Harbor, two torpedoes:  Ground-truthed only, later determined to be inert by Navy EOD Team.
 
Newport - Outer Harbor, north of Goat Island:  Sterile in the middle of a line of 18th-century sites, the presumed area of dredging to accommodate the channel to the steam ship landing east of Goat Island. Planned sub-bottom survey may show if this area includes remaining cultural materials. 
 
Newport - Outer Harbor, survey along the Point shore line and into an active mooring field:  This is the area first settled in Newport and the focus of many maritime businesses and mariners' residences, with piers extending into the harbor from the shore.  
 
Newport - Outer Harbor, unidentified vessel listed as ALPHA in first side scan survey:  Preliminary non-disturbance map, and site photographs.
 
Newport - Outer Harbor, unidentified vessel listed as BETA in first side scan survey:  Preliminary non-disturbance map, scale drawing, and site photographs and videography.  Partnered with NUWC.  RIMAP's early volunteer BETA Site Manager was Dr. Donna Souza-Lavalee.
 
Newport - North end of Goat Island:  Present land is man-made.  In the 18th-century there was a spit trending to the north, that was uncovered at low tide.  This is where the 26 pirates were buried in 1723.  In the 19th century a lighthouse was put at the north end of the spit, and a granite breakwater installed to protect the steamship landing to the east.  The 1938 hurricane destroyed this breakwater and it was not replaced.  In the late 19th-century the Navy had built a large Torpedo Station on Goat Island, but after World War II the US Government sold the island to the City of Newport.  The Torpedo Station buildings were razed and the former spit and breakwater were filled to create an extension of the island where a modern hotel is now located.  There is the possibility that pieces of the breakwater may be found in adjacent waters.
  
Newport - Outer Harbor, possible other Revolutionary War sites.
Also 19th-century ships used for Navy target practice, Navy diver training, or lost in marine peril.                  Tug Leyden at Goat Island Torpedo Station Pier, Steamship at Newport Landing in Background​
 Leyden at Goat Island Torpedo Station with Newport Steamship landing in Background Bordered Capture.PNG
Newport - Outer Harbor:  Miscellaneous modern debris located, most without provenance so not listed here.
 
Newport - Outer Harbor south of Goat Island:  Where the passage has been dredged, large boulders removed, the southern tip of Goat Island has been truncated to create a safer channel for access to the Inner Harbor.
 
Newport - Inner Harbor, along the eastern Goat Island shore:  Miscellaneous artifacts found, mainly debris associated with the Torpedo Station; selected materials collected as typical cultural materials.
 
Newport - Inner Harbor, inland, the old Cove area north of Long Wharf:  A 19th-century photograph of the Cove, before it was completely filled in, shows an abandoned vessel near the area where now there is a bus parking lot.  This marine debris may be embedded what is now land.  Since Long Wharf was a center of the earliest marine trades in Newport, it is likely that deep under this now-dry Cove area will be found materials associated with those businesses.
 
Newport - Inner Harbor, along the Long Wharf:  The original 18th-century cribbing used to create Long Wharf was still visible in this area as late as the '50s.  Recent seawall repairs have ignored the possibility that the cribbing may still exist under the adjacent road.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Drawing of Resolution
Contemporary Resolution Drawing Bordered Capture.PNGNewport - Inner Harbor, along the Thames Street shore:  By the 18th-century this whole shoreline was the location of many maritime businesses and land-fill has extended the shore into the harbor.  Although the area is heavily overbuilt, there may be historic artifacts embedded in the land that once had been under water. 
 
Newport - Inner Harbor, along the Thames Street shore: Location of LA LIBERTE ex RESOLUTION, the ship mis-identified in the early 19th-century as the ENDEAVOUR.  Later development has covered, and possibly destroyed, anything that remained of her.
        
Newport -Inner Harbor, along the southern shore of the harbor:  Two unidentified ballast piles were found between Ida Lewis Yacht Club and New York Yacht  Club.
 
Newport - Inner Harbor, Brenton Cove:  Multiple nearshore visual surveys by divers located a number of submerged structures, from the point of Beacon Rock, around to the Sandy beach, and then north to the launch landing off Fort Adams.  The BESSIE ROGERS at Beacon Rock estate pier is the only site in Brenton Cove that can be securely identified at present; mapped, photographed, videographed. 
 
Newport - Inner Harbor, Brenton Cove:  There is a bit of structure in the southeast corner of the Cove; preliminary investigation only. 
 
Newport - Inner Harbor, Brenton Cove:  The unidentified structure at the base of the boat ramp south of Alofsin Building is generally accepted to be the reputed slave ship GEM or possibly the rum-runner VIOLA.  RIMAP has completed a preliminary map of the exposed structure, including a small reveal to determine nature of the timbers.  The identification of this site as the GEM is in error because RIMAP has located an illustration of the vessel published in the 1840s that pre-dates the vessel's arrival in Newport.  This is possibly an 18th-century site.   A study of this site by a Brown undergraduate that came to a different conclusion has not been shared with RIMAP.  Partnered with Bateaux Below, Inc., Joe Zarzynski, Site Manager.
      
Newport - Inner Harbor, Brenton Cove:  The reputed slave ship GEM is supposed to be off the headland to the east of the Alofsin Building, south of the sandy beach, where amateur "archaeologists" removed structure in 1959.  RIMAP's investigation of that area has been unsuccessful in locating this structure.  Note that test excavations in this area were done under CRMC permits for limited intrusion, in order to disturb the local ecology as little as possible.  This effort was inconclusive.  Partnered with Bateaux Below, Inc., Joe Zarzynski, Site Manager.
 
 Photo of Reputed Slave Ship Gem in Brenton Cove           Photo of Ship Remains in Brenton Cove (not Gem)          Photo of Divers Working at South end of Brenton Cove 1959
Reputed Slave Ship Gem - Higginson Photo Border Capture.PNG  ​         Ship at Boat Ramp - Crop Border Capture.PNG              Stohlbert - Border Capture.PNG

Newport
- Inner Harbor, Brenton Cove:  Unidentified flat slab of structure off the sandy beach.  RIMAP mapped and video'd the site and the photographs were organized into a photomosaic.  A small test excavation beneath structure was inconclusive, and one bronze fastener was retrieved.  Partnered with Bateaux Below, Inc., Joe Zarzynski, Site Manager.
 
Note:  Later historical research by RIMAP volunteer and professional marine archaeologist and RIMAP volunteer GEM Site Manager, Joseph W. Zarzynski, determined that the vessel named the GEM, that for 150 years had been known as a "slave ship," had instead carried missionaries to Africa.  RIMAP understanding of how that mistake was made will be published elsewhere in this website.
           
Newport - Fort Adams, area around the current launch landing:  RIMAP discovered the remains of an extensive foundation for a much larger pier structure, the old pilings standing proud from the bottom as much as 1-2 feet.  During the simple mapping of this structure, a small bowl with the Coastal Artillery insignia was dislodged, and there are probably more such artifacts embedded in this area.
                                                                                                                                                                          Fort Adams Marine Railway Engine House Foundation
Fort Adams Marine Railway Engine House Bordered Capture.PNGNewport - Fort Adams, 20th-century marine railway:  This structure was part of the US Army shipyard north of the fort and extends more than 400 feet from the power house on the shore north of the fort, east into Newport Harbor toward the south end of Goat Island.  One roller box on bottom nearby and the underwater structure was intact until 2008 when the top was dislodged.  RIMAP's detailed mapping of the structure was compared to the original construction plans housed at the Crandall Engineering Company in Boston.  That confirmed the limited deterioration of timbers.  The site was photographed and some of the biota was identified.  Note:  There is a second, smaller marine railway in the boat basin to the north of Fort Adams, but no power house remains, and RIMAP has only taken note of its presence.  RIMAP's volunteer Fort Adams marine railway Site Manager is John Hoagland.
 
Newport - Fort Adams:  RIMAP identified the "Cannons" reportedly found west of the fort structure are drain pipes.
 
Newport - Western Newport Neck shore from Fort Adams to Brenton Point, and along the southern shore to Bailey's Beach:  There are many vessels known to have been lost along this shore, but the difficult conditions and lack of funding mean we have not investigated most them.  An exception is the unidentified wooden barge from the 1930s[?] that RIMAP mapped, sketched, and photographed. 
 
North Kingstown - Wickford near the lighthouse (now a residence) at the entrance to the harbor:  Walked the shore where a Rev War raid took place and ship is thought to be lost; inconclusive.
 
Portsmouth - HMS LARK, Royal Navy frigate lost south of Arnold Point:  RIMAP conducted a side scan survey and ground-truthing, as well as a non-disturbance investigation of an unidentified bit of structure, including photographs and scale drawings.  Partnered with NUWC, and RIMAP Site Manager was Rod Mather.  
                                                                                                                                                                                                             Freeborn Street
Land Archaeology in Portsmouth - Freeborn Street Bordered Capture.PNGPortsmouth - Freeborn Street Farmstead located in the 1778 Battle of Rhode Island contested ground; Preliminary test pit and collection of surface scatter artifacts.  Possible location of future RIMAP land archaeology field school.
 
Portsmouth - North of Melville:  Unidentified abandoned large wooden barge, seen from a distance only.
 
Portsmouth - HMS ORPHEUS, Royal Navy frigate lost off Melville:  RIMAP conducted a side scan survey and ground-truthing, as well as a non-disturbance investigation of an unidentified bit of structure that may be an exposed bit of ballast pile.  Partnered with NUWC, including special remote video feed to cadets on board ROSE replica, and RIMAP Site Manager was Rod Mather.  
 
Portsmouth - Spectacle Island:  Unidentified barge (?) seen from a distance.
 
Portsmouth - Stone Bridge area:  Reported shipwreck.  Shore walk inconclusive.
 
Portsmouth - Prudence Island - near Providence Point:  Unidentified structure that may be 18th-century shipwreck debris; also 18th-century pier nearby.
 
Providence River - Off Fox Point:  Unidentified ship structures (at least 2) exposed at low tide in old shipyard areas.  Seen from the shore only.
 
Rhode Island Sound - German World War II submarine, U-853:  Historical studies only because unexploded ordnance makes this site dangerous, despite heavy sport diver visits.
                                                                                                                                                                                                 Loss of the U-853
Loss of U-853 - Border Capture.PNGSakonnet River - Between McCorrie Point and Black Point, searching for Revolutionary War period vessels known to have been lost here:  Side scan survey of western side of river, and a portion at Fogland in Tiverton, plus groundtruthing; effort inconclusive.
 
South Kingstown - Along Rhode Island Sound, unidentified vessel (keel/frames/fasteners/ceiling/planking) embedded in the dune:  Site seen twice in different exposures from erosion and then re-covered by dune.  Non-disturbance measurements of exposed structure and photographed.  A second unidentified site to the east of this one, also embedded in the dune.
 
Tiverton - At mouth of Nonquit Pond:  Extensive non-disturbance search for ship structure reportly seen here in the 1930s; inconclusive.
 
Warren - Kickemuit River:  Walked shore near where American small craft were destroyed in British Revolutionary War raid; inconclusive but identified location of the bridge that the British destroyed in the same raid.
 
Warwick - Gaspee Point:  Walked out onto spit at low tide, but no GASPEE found.  However, there is exposed ship structure on Green Island to the south that later was identified as an abandoned vessel formerly involved in the rum-running trade.  This site viewed from shore to south.
 
West Passage of Narragansett Bay - between Hope and Prudence Islands:  Area suggestive of potential inundated terrestrial site.  Preliminary ground-truthing inconclusive.
 
 
   Looking into the Entrance to Butts Hill Fort, on the grounds of which RIMAP seeks to establish a facility to share these stories with the public!
Butts Hill Entrance Looking In - Border Capture.PNG 

 LOGO Capture - small.PNG