Since its founding, APRL has functioned as a "what if" lab for archaeological projects within the University System and in conjunction with collegues around the world. Dedicated to the task of developing new conservation strategies, as well as refining existing conservation treatments, researchers have gained in-depth knowledge of some of the fundamental issues related to preserving badly deteriorated organic material culture.

In addition to supporting student theses and dissertations, both APRL and the Conservation Research Lab (CRL) contract with other archaeological projects to conserve and conduct research on artifacts from a wide range of archaeological sites. Presently, APRL technicians have conserved artifacts for many museums, and treatment strategies developed through the lab are used world-wide by archaeological conservators.

APRL is equipped for

  • artifact conservation and stabilization
  • digital microscopy
  • super-cold conductivity research
  • industrial radiography of marine concretions and artifacts
  • electrolytic, mechanical, and chemical cleaning of artifacts
  • removal of salts and other chlorides from marine artifacts
  • artifact casting, restoration and reconstruction
  • new polymer processing technology
  • artifact presentation and display
  • photography and illustration
  • artifact documentation, identification, and research
  • condition assesment and collection management


Artifact conservation facilities at Texas A&M University can accomodate large and small collections of artifacts of a variety of materials, including metals, glass, ceramics, stone, wood, fabricks, and other organic materials. Materials from both dry land and underwater sites are regularly conserved in our facilities.

CRL consists of two laboratories: a teaching lab used by Dr. Hamilton and Dr. Smith to train conservation students, equipped to accomodate small collections of artifacts; and a main lab to accomodate large-scale projects, including the largest wood conservation vat in North America, currently housing the hull remains of La Salle's La Belle.

APRL facilities include equipment for conducting digital microscopy as well as super-cold conductive and polymer research.

For contract conservation, artifact consultations, and const estimates, contact:

Dr. C. Wayne Smith
Director, Archaeological Preservation Research Laboratory
Nautical Archaeology Program
Anthropology Building
Texas A&M University 
College Station, Texas  77834-4352

Telephone: 979.845.6692
Fax: 979.845.6399
E-mail: silicone@tamu.edu
Dr. Donny L. Hamilton
Director, Conservation Research Laboratory
Nautical Archaeology Program
Texas A&M University
College Station, Texas 77843-4252

Telephone: 979.845.6355
Fax: 979.845.6399
E-mail: crl@tamu.edu

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