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Past Projects:

Port Royal, Jamaica

Mardi Gras- In May 2007, the Center for Maritime Archaeology and Conservation, in cooperation with the Oceanography Department at Texas A&M University and the Mineral Management Service, conducted a partial excavation on a deep water shipwreck 4016 feet deep in the Gulf of Mexico.

La Belle (1686CE) Shipwreck Project -  The Texas Historical Commission arranged for CRL to conserve all of the excavated material from La Salle's 17th-century ship, the Belle  - including the ship herself.  Few, if any, shipwrecks excavated in the United States have contained the quantity and variety of material found on the Belle.  New conservation procedures were developed for this project, and a new conservation vat was built especially for treating the ship's hull.  This vat is the largest wood conservation facility in the United States.

17th Century Portugese Ceramic Firepot

Civil War Union Cannon - The conservation of a 3-lb. Union field cannon captured by Confederate forces at the Battle of Mansfield, Louisiana, and brought to Texas.  It was buried near Fairfield, Texas, just after the Civil War by the Confederate forces to keep from handing it over to the Union. When Grover Cleveland was elected president in 1885, the cannon was dug up and fired at inaugural celebrations held in Texas.

USS Shark Carronades

Brother Jonathan Chest - The crate from the Brother Jonathan shipwreck had a simple conservation plan: 1) determine the contents of the crate; 2) determine the way the crate was packed; 3) identify each of the artifacts; 4) evaluate the condition of each artifact; and, 5) devise a conservation treatment for each of the artifacts.

Jewett Mine Cars Project - Between 1998 and 2001, strip mining operations conducted by Northwestern Resources Company at the old Jewett Mine unearthed the remains of several pit cars dating to the early twentieth century. The remains were brought to the CRL to reconstruct the pit cars for display.

Old Hickory Lake Dugout Canoe - The Conservation Research Laboratory was contracted to conserve the waterlogged remains of a dugout canoe. The canoe was found by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers personnel at Old Hickory Lake near Nashville, Tennessee. The canoe was sent to CRL in July 1998 and was subsequently stored in a vat of water. Due to the fragile state of the wood, it has been extremely important to keep the canoe wet at all times.

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.