Oertling

Thomas J. Oertling

Instructional Assistant Professor

Department of Liberal Studies
(Nautical Archaeology)

oertlint@tamug.edu

+1 (409) 741-4026

Mr. Oertling is Instructional Assistant Professor of Maritime Studies Program. He received his MA in Anthropology the Nautical Archaeology program at Texas A&M University in 1984, and specializes in post medieval nautical archaeology. He has partnered with the Institute of Nautical Archaeology at Texas A&M on numerous projects, most recently in the excavation of the Denbigh, a Civil War blockade runner off the coast of Galveston Island, but also has extensive experience throughout the Caribbean. Mr. Oertling is a materials conservation specialist, and oversees all aspects of archaeological conservation in the Campus Archaeological Laboratory (CARL).

Education

M.A., Texas A&M University, 1984.
B.S., Tulane University, 1977.

Experience

Instructional Assistant Professor January 2013 - Present

Texas A&M University at Galveston, General Academics Department, Maritime Studies Program. See courses taught below. Additional duties involve managing the Galveston Archaeological Resources Laboratory at this University

Adjunct Faculty September 1998 – December 2012

Texas A&M University at Galveston, General Academics Department, Maritime Studies Program. Teaching duties include ANTH-202, Introduction to Archaeology; ANTH-318, Nautical Archaeology in the Americas; MAST 265 & 266, Elissa Sail Training I & II; MAST-345, Texas Gulf Coast Maritime Culture and History; and other courses as they are developed for the Maritime Studies program. Additional duties involve managing the Galveston Archaeological Resources Laboratory at this University.

Principal Investigator May 2004-May 2006

The Texas Navy Association of Galveston, Texas and The National Underwater and Marine Agency of Denver, Colorado, for the search for the Texas Navy Warship Invincible.

Co-principal Investigator November 1997 - 2005

The Denbigh Project: The Archaeology of a Civil War Blockade Runner. The Institute of Nautical Archaeology, College Station, Texas.

Principal Investigator May 1997

Moore Archeological Consulting for the relocation of Site 41HR622 for the Herman Brown Park Bikeway Project, Houston, Texas.

Program Designer 1994-1995

Participated in the development of The Maritime Mystery Educational Program with the staff of The Texas Seaport Museum of Galveston, Texas. This program is designed for high school and secondary school children and is based on underwater archaeology. Its objective is to promote deductive reasoning and problem solving. This Program was awarded The Texas Historical Commission’s 1995 Museum Excellence Award.

Co-Principal Investigator July 17-29, 1994

Upper Texas Coast Archaeological Survey on the Texas Coast between Rollover Pass and Sabine Pass. The survey included both magnetometer survey of the waters immediately adjacent to the beach and of the beach itself of areas reported to contain historical material.

Principal Investigator June 1991-April 1997

National Underwater and Marine Agency of Denver, Colorado, for the search for the Texas Navy Warship Invincible.

Consultant February-April 1993

Espy, Huston & Associates, Houston Ship Channel Testing Project.

Owner of Past Perfect Historical Research September 1992-2004

A sole proprietorship engaged in historical and archaeological research.

Researcher April-May 1992

History display for new Corps of Engineers Headquarters Building, Galveston, Texas, a sub-contract through Texana Design, Galveston, Texas.

Contract Researcher and Consultant April 1991-March 1992

Various projects for the Galveston Historical Foundation and Coastal Environments, Inc., encompassing archaeology and historical research.

Proprietor of Live Oak Woodworking April 1991-2005

Custom woodworking, managing all aspects of the business.

Research Associate April 1990-April 1991

Texas Seaport Museum, Galveston, Tx. Responsibilities included historical research for the museum exhibits, working with exhibit designers, creating the format for a database of immigrants' names who entered the U.S. through Galveston and supervising data entry personnel for the same.

Proprietor of Wood'N'Things October 1988-April 1990

Fine wood crafts, managing all aspects of the business.

Contract Researcher and Consultant January 1989-February 1990

Various projects for the Galveston Historical Foundation's Texas Seaport Museum

Consultant July 10-16, 1989

The University of West Florida's archaeological field school, The Deadman's Island Shipwreck, Roger C. Smith, dir.

Consultant October 10-11, 1985

The Corpus Christi Museum for the analysis of a Civil War Torpedo Barge on Mustang Island, TX.

Archaeologist April 16-June 10, 1985

Institute of Nautical Archaeology, a survey of the Bay of Cadiz, Spain, for underwater archaeological resources of the 15th and 16th centuries. In cooperation with the Ministerio de Cultura of Spain.

Research Assistant January 15-March 30, 1985

Institute of Nautical Archaeology, assisted in the reconstruction of the Serçe Limani Wreck, an 11th-century Islamic merchant ship, at the Underwater Archaeology Museum in Bodrum, Turkey.

Research Assistant/Associate May 1984-September 1988

The Institute of Nautical Archaeology for the Ships of Discovery Project, College Station, Texas. Performed the analysis, recording and writing of the final reports of the Highborn Cay and Molasses Reef wrecks, two early 16th century shipwrecks of the Columbian Period. In addition, acted in various capacities including managing the Molasses Reef Wreck Conservation Laboratory which included purchasing, personnel and planning; assisted in grant preparation; was responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of a computer based artifact catalog comprising nearly 3,000 entries; edited and standardized a series of project reports; conducted tours of the laboratory facilities; wrote articles for publication, government reports, and presented papers at national conventions.

Archaeologist September-December 1983

Yorktown Shipwreck Archaeological Project, the State of Virginia, to direct the initial recording and analysis of the Betsey, one of the Yorktown Revolutionary War vessels, and was temporary site supervisor, overseeing excavations, record keeping and volunteer participation for November-December.

Graduate Assistant/Student January 1979-May 1984

Texas A&M University Nautical Archaeology program to Professor J. Richard Steffy, ship reconstruct or (September 1979-May 1980). Assisted with class preparation and exercises and with research for the reconstruction of an 11th-century Islamic trading vessel. Catalogued and accessioned books, periodicals, and other research materials into the departmental library (January-May 1981). Field experience from this period included two seasons (1979, 1980) on Revolutionary War period vessels in the York River, Virginia; excavations on the city of Port Royal, Jamaica (1981); excavation of a 16th-century wreck at Turks & Caicos Islands, BWI (1982). Participated in a Parks Canada excavation of a mid-16th century Basque shipwreck in Labrador (summer 1983) to share techniques and procedures of recording shipwrecks.

Archaeological Technician March 1977-May 1978

New World Research, Inc., acted as excavator, lithics analyst, supervisor of a water sieve operation, and assisted in report writing.

Publications

2004
“Characteristics of 15th- and 16th-Century Iberian Ships.” In The Philosophy of Shipbuilding: Conceptual Approaches to the Study of Wooden Ships. F.M. Hocker and C.A. Ward, eds. College Station, Texas: Texas A&M University Press, 129-136.

2001
“The Denbigh Project: test excavations at the wreck of an American Civil War Blockade Runner.” With J. Barto Arnold, III and Andrew Hall. In World Archaeology, 32.3: 400-412.

“The Denbigh Project 2002: Excavation of a Civil War Blockade Runner,” with J. Barto Arnold, III and Andrew W. Hall. The Bulletin of the Texas Archeological Society, 74: 131-140.

“The Concept of the Atlantic Vessel.” In Proceedings of the International Symposium on Archaeology of Medieval and Modern Ships of Iberian-Atlantic Tradition. F. J. S. Alves, ed. Lisboa: Instituto Português de Arqueologia, 233-240.

1999
"The Denbigh Project: initial observations on a Civil War blockade-runner and its wreck-site." with J. Barto Arnold III and Andrew W. Hall. The International Journal of Nautical Archaeology, 28.2: 126-144.

1997
"Archaeological Testing and Survey for the Texas Navy Vessel Invincible." Texas Antiquities Permit Number 1241. Past Perfect Historical Research: Galveston, Texas, July, 1997.

"Relocation of Site 41HR622 for the Herman Brown Park Bikeway Project, Houston, Texas." With Roger G. Moore and Madeleine Donachie. Texas Antiquities Permit #1789. Moore Archeological Consulting, Report of Investigations Number 191. Moore Archeological Consulting: Houston, Texas, May, 1997.

1996
Ships' Bilge Pumps: A History of Their Development, 1500-1900. Studies in Nautical Archaeology, No. 2. College Station: Texas A&M University Press. "Historical Comments and Observations on the Map "Bahia de Galveston," with translation by Dorothy Karilanovic. The Lafitte Society Chronicles, 2.1 (January): no pg #s.

1995
"Upper Texas Coast Underwater Archaeological Reconnaissance Project: Galveston, Chambers, and Jefferson Counties," with J. Barto Arnold III. The International Journal of Nautical Archaeology, 24.3: 199-204.

1992
"Survey for the Texas Navy Warship, Invincible," with J. Barto Arnold III and Wayne Gronquist, Co-Directors, Alton Briggs, Principle Investigator. Galveston, Texas.

1991
"Civil War Raft: A Civil War 'Devil' on Mustang Island, Texas," Seaways, Journal of Maritime History and Research, 2.1: 33-35

"The Mombasa Wreck Excavation: The Pumps," INA Newsletter, 18.2: 14-15.

1990
"Elissa, 1877: The Ship with the Longest Wake," Seaways, Journal of Maritime History and Research, 1.3: 3-10.

1989
"A Suction Pump from an Early Sixteenth-Century Shipwreck," Technology and Culture, 30.3: 584-595. "The Highborn Cay wreck: The 1986 field season," The International Journal of Nautical Archaeology, 18.3: 229-243.

"The Molasses Reef wreck hull analysis: Final report," The International Journal of Nautical Archaeology, 18.3: 244-253.

"The Few Remaining Clues . . .," in Underwater Archaeology Proceedings from the Society for Historical Archaeology Conference, 100-103. J. Barto Arnold III, ed. Pleasant Hill, Ca: Society for Historical Archaeology.

1988
"Grokking: Understanding Cannons and Anchors from a Seaman's Point of View," in Archaeology in Solution: Proceedings of the Seventeenth Annual Conference on Underwater Archaeology, 125-126. John W. Foster and Sheli O. Smith, eds. Salinas, Ca: Coyote Press.

"Molasses Reef Laboratory Update," INA Newsletter, 15.1: 5.

"The Molasses Reef and Highborn Cay Wrecks: Two Early 16th-Century Hulls," in Underwater Archaeology Proceedings from the Society for Historical Archaeology Conference, 116-120. James Delgado, ed. Ann Arbor: Braun-Brumfield, Inc.

"Comment on 'Early modern ordnance and European penetration of the Caribbean: the operational dimension," With J. Barto Arnold, III and John F. Guilmartin, Jr. The International Journal of Nautical Archaeology, 17.4: 351-353.

1987
"The Highborn Cay Wreck: Limited Excavations, Sept. 1-19, 1986," compiler. A report to the Government of the Bahamas, BWI.

"Elegant Remains Yield Details of Discovery Ship Construction," INA Newsletter, 14.3/4: 8-10ff.

"Investigation of a Civil War anti-torpedo raft on Mustang Island, Texas," The International Journal of Nautical Archaeology, 16.2: 149-157. With Herman A. Smith and J. Barto Arnold, III.

1986
"Scant Hull Fragments Offer Small but Meaningful Clues," INA Newsletter, 13.1: 14-15.

"Saga of Elissa: Cruise to Corpus," INA Newsletter, 12.4: 11.

1984
"The Molasses Reef Wreck, Turks and Caicos Islands, B.W.I.: A Preliminary Report," with D.H. Keith, et al., The International Journal of Nautical Archaeology, 13.1: 45-63.

"The History and Development of the Ship's Bilge Pump, 1500-1840," unpublished MA thesis. Department of Anthropology, Texas A&M University.

"In Consideration of the Overlooked: Ships' Pumps," in Underwater Archaeology: The Proceedings of the Thirteenth Conference on Underwater Archaeology, 81-82. Donald H. Keith, ed. Fathom Eight Special Publication #5. San Marino, Ca.: Fathom Eight.

"Yorktown Shipwreck Archaeological Project: Results from the 1983 Season," with John Broadwater and Marcie Renner, in In Search of Our Maritime Past: Proceedings of the Fifteenth Conference on Underwater Archaeology, 169-180. Jonathan W. Bream, et al., ed. Greenville, N.C.: East Carolina University.

"Elissa Restoration: A Spirited Lady Is Brought to Life," INA Newsletter, 11.4: 13.

1982
"The Chain Pump: an Eighteenth Century Example," in The International Journal of Nautical Archaeology, 11.2: 113-124.

1981
"The Pumps" as part of "The Charon Report," with J.R. Steffy, et al., in Underwater Archaeology: The Challenge Before Us. Proceedings of the Twelfth Conference on Underwater Archaeology, 134-139. Gordon P. Watts, Jr., ed. Fathom Eight Special Publication #2. San Marino, Ca.: Fathom Eight, Inc.

"Sevilla la Nueva: A Site Survey and Historical Assessment of Jamaica's First European Town," unpubl. ms. to the Government of Jamaica. With R.C. Smith, D.C. Lakey, B.F. Thompson, and R. Woodward.

Presentations

2012
“The Origin of ‘La Bamba,’” North American Society of Oceanic History (NASOH)/ Conference of American Maritime Museum (CAMM) Conference, April 22-25, Galveston, Tx. The maritime origins of Richard Valenzuela’s Rock and Roll hit, ‘La Bamba.’

2003
“The Denbigh Project 2003: Excavation of a Civil War Blockade Runner, Phase IV-Research, Analysis, Synthesis, & Write-up,” with J. Barto Arnold, III and Andrew W. Hall, paper presented to the Society for Historical Archaeology Conference on Historical and underwater Archaeology, St. Louis, Missouri, January 7-10.

2002
“Steam Blockade Runners at Galveston,” presented at the Society for Historical Archaeology Conference/Conference on Underwater Archaeology, Mobile, Alabama, January 8-12.

“The Denbigh Project: Investigations of a Civil War Blockade Runner at Galveston,” with Andrew W. Hall, paper presented at the Gulf South Historical Association Conference, Galveston, Texas, October.

2001
"The Denbigh Project: Excavation of a Civil War Blockade Runner." with J. Barto Arnold III and Andrew W. Hall, presented at the Society for Historical Archaeology Conference/Conference on Underwater Archaeology, Santa Barbara, California, January 9-13.

2000
“The Denbigh Project: The Archaeology of a Civil War Blockde Runner,” with Andrew W. Hall, presented at the Texas A&M University at Galveston Faculty/Staff Symposium at Moody Gardens Convention Center, Galveston, Texas, August 19.

1999
"The Denbigh Project: Initial Observations on a Civil War Blockade Runner and Its Wreck-Site." with J. Barto Arnold III and Andrew W. Hall, presented at the Society for Historical Archaeology Conference/Conference on Underwater Archaeology, Salt Lake City, Utah, January 6-10.

1998
"The Atlantic Vessel," presented at the International Symposium 'Archaeology of Medieval and Modern Ships of Iberian-Atlantic Tradition.' Academia Marinha, Lisbon, Portugal. September 7-9.

1997
"The Galveston Immigration Database," presented at The East Texas Historical Association Meeting, Galveston, Texas, February 21-22.

1994
"The Search for the Invincible," invited lecture at the Texas Navy, Inc. Banquet, Galveston, Texas, April 21.

1989
"The Few Remaining Clues . . .," presented at The Society for Historical Archaeology Conference/Conference on Underwater Archaeology, Baltimore, Maryland, January 5-7.

1988
"The Highborn Cay and Molasses Reef Wrecks: Two Early 16th-Century Hulls," presented at The Society for Historical Archaeology Conference/Conference on Underwater Archaeology, Reno, Nevada, January 13-17.

1987
"The Ships of Discovery," an invited lecture to The National Management Association, NASA Johnson Space Center Chapter, Houston, Texas, December 9.

1986
"Grokking: Understanding Cannons and Anchors from a Seaman's Point of View," presented at The Society for Historical Archaeology Conference/Conference on Underwater Archaeology, Sacramento, California, January 8-12.

1984
"An Analysis of the Hull Structure of YO-88," presented at The Society for Historical Archaeology Conference/Conference on Underwater Archaeology, Williamsburg, Virginia, January 5-8.

1982
"In Consideration of the Overlooked: Ships' Pumps," presented at The Society for Historical Archaeology Conference/Conference on Underwater Archaeology, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, January 7-10.

1981
'The Pumps' as part of "The Charon Report," with J.R. Steffy, et al., presented at The Society for Historical Archaeology Conference/Conference on Underwater Archaeology, New Orleans, Louisiana, January 5-7.

Courses Taught at Texas A&M University at Galveston
  • Anth 202: Introduction to Archaeology
  • Anth 313: Historical Archaeology
  • Anth 318: Nautical Archaeology in the Americas
  • Hist 232: History of American Seapower
  • Mast 265: Elissa Sail Training*
  • Mast 345: Texas Maritime Culture and History*
  • Mast 441: Maritime Piracy*
  • Mast 489: Traditional Maritime Tools *

* Indicates classes developed by this writer

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