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Donny L. Hamilton

Donny Hamilton
Founder, Conservation Research Laboratory
Professor Emeritus
Areas of Speciality
  • Historical Archaeology
  • Artifact Conservation
  • Caribbean
  • Conservation Research Laboratory
  • (979) 845-6355
Worked at TAMU from


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 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.

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