Thomas J. Oertling

Instructional Assistant Professor
Department of Liberal Studies

Phone: +1 (409) 741.4026
Fax: +1 (409) 740.4962

Sea Aggie Center, Office 405


Learn more about Thomas J. Oertling

Get To Know Thomas J. Oertling

What in your life drew you to your current field of study?

An interest in history, a love of ships and how they were built and worked, and an interest in technology.

What do you hope your students gain from studying or working with you?

New ways of seeing things. Thinking of things they never thought about before. Learning how things were done and made before modern technology and to appreciate the abilities, talents, and skills of people of the past.

What are you passionate about in your personal life?

Cooking: Cooking fills a basic human need, but it is also an important facet of basic human interaction. It is the basis of hospitality. There is no more basic expression of community than sharing food.

Lego I'm an Adult Fan of Lego (AFOL) Even adults need to play.

M.A. Anthropology/Nautical Archaeology, Texas A&M University, 1984
B.A. Anthropology, Tulane University, 1977
Courses Taught
ANTH 202: Introduction to Archaeology
ANTH 313: Historical Archaeology
ANTH 318: Nautical Archaeology in the Americas
ANTH 409: Science, Pseudoscience, and Critical Thinking
HIST 232: History of American Seapower
MAST 265: Elissa Sail Training I*
MAST 345: Texas Maritime Culture and History*
MAST 352: Maritime Craftsmanship*
MAST 441: Maritime Piracy*

*Indicates classes developed by this writer

Developed, but not teaching
MAST 365: Material Culture

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 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.

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.
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.

1996: Ships' Bilge Pumps: A History of Their Development, 1500-1900. Studies in Nautical Archaeology, No. 2. College Station: Texas A&M University Press.

1989: "A Suction Pump from an Early Sixteenth-Century Shipwreck," Technology and Culture, 30.3: 584-595.

1988: "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.

1987: "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.

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.


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

January 7-10, 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 8-12, 2002: “Steam Blockade Runners at Galveston,” presented at the Society for Historical Archaeology Conference/Conference on Underwater Archaeology, Mobile, Alabama.

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

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

January 13-17, 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.

Awards & Recognition
2016: Meritorious Service Award for Student Relations; Chief Executive Officer, Texas A&M University at Galveston.