Digital Library

Analytical Archaeology Laboratory (Texas A&M)


The Analytical Archaeology Laboratory (AAL) was established in 2018 as a new laboratory for the Center for Maritime Archaeology and Conservation (CMAC) in the Anthropology Department at Texas A&M University. Our mission is to expand our knowledge of nautical archaeology through technology. Be it laser scanning, XRF analysis, photogrammetry, or microscopy, the AAL is the CMAC hub for cutting-edge documentation and analysis techniques.

Christopher Dostal is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology. He is the director of the Analytical Archaeology Laboratory and the Associate Director of the Conservation Research Laboratory at the Texas A&M University System RELLIS campus. His research focuses on historic-period wooden shipbuilding from North America and the conservation of waterlogged archaeological artifacts.

Shipbuilding Research

The Analytical Archaeology Laboratory is developing cutting edge methodologies to clean, tag, record, store, share, and reconstruct shipwreck hull structures. 

Using laser scanning to record sub-milimetric 3D models of each timber, the specialists at the AAL have developed a methodology to disassemble and reverse-engineer wooden hull, laser scan them, produce shareable and printeble 3D models of each timber – when the shipwreck owner grants them that right – and reassembling the hull timbers to deduce a set of lines drawings from which to develop a full or reconstruction of the hull.


Dostal, C., 2017. The 3D Digitization of the World Trade Center Wreck. Paper delivered at SHA 2017, Fort Worth, Texas, January 4-8.