Val Verde County, TX
Welcome to the Texas Archeological Research Laboratory!
To collect, preserve, and curate archeological specimens and records. The lab also trains students, conducts archeological research and disseminates information about Texas' vast archeological legacy.Learn More
TARL & NAGPRA
TARL is fortunate for the relationships and visits that have been formed since NAGPRA’s inception, and is dedicated to the repatriation process of ancestral remains. We are actively reviewing past policies and procedures to better align our practices with tribal wishes and increased access for tribal partners.Learn More
We are currently processing Fall 2022 volunteers and interns applications. Please check back in mid-October for Spring 2023 appointments here.
Texas Archeology Month
Every October, we celebrate the vast and rich history of Texas archeology. Our state is diverse not only in its climates and landscapes, but also its peoples and their cultures. Follow the link below to view our past archeological activities, and check back here Fall 2022 for updates on new events and kits!Learn More
Looking to curate at TARL?
The TARL repository currently accepts a variety of collections and records for curation. These artifacts are stored in our state of the art facilities, for a fee. Click below for further information and instructions on how to proceed.
Check out our new TARL online store to pay invoicing, purchase merchandising, memberships, and much more!
New TBH Exhibit: Firepots on the La Belle Shipwreck
Nine firepots were discovered on La Belle shipwreck, a 17th century French ship supporting a calamitous expedition led by Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle. La Belle wrecked in 1686 during a storm within the bay near Matagorda Peninsula. The wreck of La Belle was rediscovered in 1995 by the Texas Historical Commission and excavated by the agency from 1996–1997.
Archeologists recovered the firepots from the wreck, the only known archeological examples of this technology found in the world. Firepots, or pots-à-feu, were built with an iron grenade nested inside a larger ceramic grenade. The firepots tell us that the La Salle expedition was not merely a voyage of pure discovery or exploration, or even of peaceful settlement; the leaders of the La Salle expedition were clearly prepared for a secondary military objective—a planned mission to seize silver mines from Spain. In preparation, La Salle’s fleet carried 100 soldiers and an assemblage of weapons. The firepots not only symbolize the unrealized military engagement, but they also paint a picture of the exact technological moment La Belle occupied, a transition point between ceramic and iron grenades.
To understand their effectiveness in battle, researchers built and detonated experimental firepots. Read more about La Belle firepots and the fascinating experiments they spawned in the new contribution to the TBH Gallery by Penelope Ray.