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Archaeological Conservation Certificate

The Conservation Research Laboratory (CRL) at Texas A&M University is one of the oldest and best known conservation facilities in the United States.  Since 1978 CRL has been a component part of the academic program in the Department of Anthropology and is one of the main research laboratories of the Center for Maritime Archaeology and Conservation.  In conjunction with the Nautical Archaeology Program, the laboratory has concentrated on the preservation of archaeological material culture from marine environments, but has the expertise to preserve material from terrestrial sites as well.  Over the years, CRL has developed a number of conservation strategies that are used around the world to treat artifacts and are important to any student who has an interest in the preservation of cultural material.  Thus the conservation courses are popular with students across the campus.

Because of the pioneering research of CRL, archaeological conservators from around the world have expressed an interest in participating in short-term, specific conservation training opportunities.  The Conservation Training Certificate is designed to meet the needs of these individuals and students who do not, for any number of reasons have the time or resources to come to Texas A&M University for a degree in Anthropology or Nautical Archaeology, but are able to come here for 12 hours of courses in archaeological conservation training.  This pertains especially to individuals currently employed by various state, U.S. Government and foreign countries.  People in these situations can often get the funding to come here for two semesters during one year or a single semester for two years and earn their Archaeological Conservation Training Certificate.  This will enable them to be granted an official certificate in conservation training from the University.  In addition, many degree-seeking Texas A&M University students will take the required 12 hours so that they will be awarded the Conservation Training Certificate in addition to their degree.  These courses do not need to appear on a student's degree plan.  It is expected that many of the graduate students in the Nautical Archaeology Program will take advantage of this option as part of their academic program.

A variation of the Conservation Certification training will be offered to conservators holding degrees or have a number of years experienced that wish to learn new, specialized technologies.  It differs only in that the introduction conservation course (ANTH 605) is not required and four hours of independent research (ANTH 685) will count towards the 12 hours required.  This certificate is designed to teach innovative and adaptive technologies for the preservation of waterlogged, organic artifacts.  An in-depth knowledge of mainstream conservation methodologies and practical laboratory experience are prerequisites.

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Required Courses

ANTH 605 – 4 Credit hours, Conservation of Archaeological Resources I – Fundamentals and applications of artifact conservation techniques in archaeology.

ANTH 606 – 4 Credit hours, Conservation of Archaeological Resources II – Practical, hands-on experience on the identification and conservation of metal and organic materials.

Additional Courses

ANTH 617 – 3 Credit hours, Conservation of Organic Materials –Practical, hands-on experience in the preservation of organic material culture using traditional and newly-discovered preservation methods.

ANTH 489 – 3 Credit hours, Analytical Methods in Archaeology and Conservation – Fundamentals of analytical methods and documentation methods used on archaeological materials.

ANTH 685 – 1-4 Credit hours, Directed Research – Areas of research may include directed studies or internships at the Conservation Research Laboratory.

Optional: Credit hour substitutions for one of the above courses. Must be accompanied with a letter of verification substantiating conservation experience provided by previous work experience or coursework. Subject to approval in advance by the director of the Conservation Research Laboratory.

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.


Read about the faculty and conservators who run the Conservation Research Labratory. We are also aided by several individuals who volunteer their time to help conserve artifacts. If you are interested in joining the volunteers at the CRL, please contact our lab manager.



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 write 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.