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Conservation Research Laboratory

Visitor's to the RELLIS Campus will surely notice the large blue containers sitting along the flight line of the old Bryan Army Air Field. 

Don't be mistaken.

While in appearance they might suggest a repository commercial construction waste, their contents are, typically, priceless.

The Conservation Research Laboratory (CRL), located in and around the old Bryan Field fire station, is one of the longest-running conservation laboratories in the world. The lab deals primarily with archaeological material from shipwrecks and other underwater sites.  Operating under the Center for Maritime Archaeology and Conservation, the CRL plays an important role in the Nautical Archaeology Program at Texas A&M, and works closely with the A&M-affiliated Institute of Nautical Archaeology in preserving artifacts from its projects around the world.

All kinds of artifacts are treated at CRL, from those made of iron, copper, brass, or pewter to those of wood, leather, glass, or ceramic.

Dr. Donny Hamilton is director of the Conservation Research Laboratory.


Dr. Donny 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 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 Archaeology which is affiliated with Texas A&M University.