Donny L. Hamilton, PhD 1978-Present

Professor, Department of Anthropology
Director, Center for Maritime Archaeology and Conservation
Director, Conservation Research Laboratory

Dr. Hamilton is a native Texan, raised in Pecos, Texas. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Anthropology from Texas Tech University in Lubbock in 1967 and a Doctorate in Anthropology from The University of Texas at Austin in 1975. He has been a faculty member of the Nautical Archaeology Program and the Anthropology Department at Texas A&M University since 1978 and holds the George T. & Gladys H Abell Chair in Nautical Archaeology and the George O. Yamini Chair in Nautical Archaeology. Dr. Hamilton is the former head of the Department of Anthropology and the director of the Center for Maritime Archaeology and Conservation, the director of the Conservation Research Laboratory, and the former head of the Nautical Archaeology Program. He is also the past president of the Institute of Nautical Arachaeology which is affiliated with Texas A&M University.

He specializes in underwater archaeology, artifact conservation and restoration, and North American historic and prehistoric archaeology. As director of the Conservation Research Laboratory at Texas A&M University, he has pioneered many of the techniques now used in the conservation of artifacts and has gained an international reputation for his work in this field. Dr. Hamilton's past and present research includes the conservation of artifacts recovered from the shipwreck of the 1554 Spanish Fleet, excavated off the coast of Padre Island in the Gulf of Mexico; the excavation and conservation of the material from the sunken 17th-century English town of Port Royal in Jamaica ; and the excavation and analysis of archaeological materials from Granado Cave in West Texas . He is was in charge of conserving the extensive collection of material recovered from the excavation of La Salle's ship, the Belle , which sank in 1686 in Matagorda Bay, Texas. Dr. Hamilton teaches courses in historical archaeology and artifact conservation. He is a past editor of the Studies in Nautical Archaeology Series published by Texas A&M University Press.

Published books include, Conservation of Metal Objects from Underwater Sites: A Sudy in Methods, Basic Methods of Conserving Underwater Archaeological Material Culture, Prehistory of the Rustler Hills: Granado Cave and an edited volume he coauthored with Alexis Catsambis and Ben Ford, The Oxford Handbook of Maritime Archaeology

Interests: historical and nautical archaeology, artifact conservation, North America and the Caribbean.

email: phone: 979-845-6355



Contract Services

The CRL works with a variety of academic institutions, museums, historical societies, government offices, and private individuals. Our goal is to create viable conservation strategies of the highest standard that can be accomplished at minimal cost. For more information, visit our services page.

About Us


Monetary donations and volunteer workers are vital to the ongoing success of the Conservation Research Laboratory. If you would like to volunteer your time and expertise, please contact us here. If you would like to become one of our donors, please click the link below and direct your gift to: Center for Maritime Archaeology and Conservation.

Technical Reports

Report No. 1 Silicone and Polymer Technologies: An Additional Tool in Conservation

Report No. 2 Re-treatment of PEG Treated Waterlogged Wood

Report No. 3 Re-Treatment of a PEG Treated Composite Artifact - A Sabot

Report No. 4 Conservation of Waterlogged Leather Using Polymers

Report No. 5 Silicone Oil: A New Technique for Preserving Waterlogged Rope

Report No. 6 Conservation of 17th Century Canvas Using Silicone Oils

Report No. 7 Silicone Bulking of Waterlogged Cork Using PS340, PS341 and PS343 Silicone Oils

Report No. 8 Conservation of Waterlogged Corn Cobs Using Silicone Oils

Report No. 9 Consolidation of Formalin Treated Marine Crustacean Specimens Using Silicone Oils

Report No. 10 Conservation Research Laboratory (CRL) Leather Dressing

Report No. 11 Mass Spectrographic Analysis of Out Gasses Created From The Dehydration of Archaeological Wood Samples

Report No. 12 Preservation of a Dog Heart Using Silicone Oils

Report No. 13 Preservation of a Dog Heart Using Silicone Oils: A Second Approach

Report No. 14 Preservation of Kelp Specimens

Report No. 15 Conservation of Devitrified Glass with Methylhydrocyclosiloxanes and Silicone Oils

Report No. 16 Polymerization of Polyethylene Glycol and Glycerine

Report No. 17 Polymerization Potentials of Polyethylene Glycol Compounds Commonly Used in Archaeological Artifact Conservation

Report No. 18 Polymerization of PR-10, PR-12 and PR-14 Silicone Oils In Animal Hides Using Catalyst Fumes - Keratin and Amino Acid Cross Linking

Report No. 19 Polymerization of Archaeological Waterlogged Wood Treated With Polyethylene Glycol

Report No. 20 Comparison of the Bulking Abilities of Polyethylene Glycol 1450 and PS341 Silicone Monomers--In progress--

Report No. 21 Tanning of Animal Hides Using Silicone Oils--In progress--

Report No. 22 Induced Flash Polymerization Using Low Neutron Flux Radiation-In progress