• Nautical Archaeology Faculty Fellow, MS in Maritime Archaeology and Conservation Program Coordinator
  • Professor
Kevin Crisman


Courses Taught:

  • Anth 318 – Nautical Archaeology of the Americas
  • Anth 330 – Field Archaeology
  • Anth 603 – Seafaring Life and Maritime Communities
  • Anth 610 – Outfitting and Sailing the Wooden Ship
  • Anth 628 – New World Seafaring
  • Anth 629 – Post-Medieval Seafaring
  • Anth 660 – Field Archaeology

Current Graduate Students:

  • Dan Bishop
  • Annaliese Dempsey
  • Garrett Hastings
  • Richard Hendren
  • Patricia Schwindinger
  • Grace Tsai

Graduate advising has been a rewarding part of my years at Texas A&M. During this time I have served on 116 completed graduate committees, 57 of them (17 PhD and 42 MA or MS) as chair.

Educational Background

  • PhD, University of Pennsylvania, 1989

Research Interests

  • Nautical archaeology of the post-Medieval Era; construction and outfitting of ships; seafaring, shipboard life, and maritime communities; North American river, lake, and canal navigation; 19th century steamboats and ship propulsion technology; warships and naval technology, 1450-1950; War of 1812 naval design and construction.

    My interests and research focus on ships, seafaring, and maritime activity in the post-Medieval era (from the 15th to the 20th centuries A.D). Ships of the War of 1812 have been a central interest since 1981 when I recorded the wreck of the U.S. Navy schooner Ticonderoga; this was followed by M.A. and Ph.D. projects on the U.S.N. 20-gun brigs Eagle and Jefferson. At Texas A&M I supervised graduate student projects on six additional 1812-era vessels and edited the book Coffins of the Brave (published in 2014) which summarizes archaeological studies of sixteen different naval wrecks. While at Texas A&M I have directed field schools on an 1820s horse-propelled paddle ferry boat (published in the 1998 book When Horses Walked on Water); between 1995 and 2001 I led surveys and wreck studies in Portugal’s Azores Islands, and from 2002 and 2008 I directed the excavation of the 1830s-era Heroine, the earliest Mississippi River steamboat to be studied by archaeologists. Most recently, from 2014 to 2016, I co-directed (with my colleague Dr. Carolyn Kennedy) the excavation and documentation of four early Lake Champlain steamboat wrecks. Currently, I am writing and editing a contributed chapter book (with TAMU Anthropology alum Dr. George Schwartz) on the archaeology of early North American steamboats.

    I am the Anthropology Department’s M.S. Program faculty advisor. In addition, since 2008 I have served as the Institute of Nautical Archaeology’s Vice President for New World Research, and I am a member of the Texas A&M University Press Faculty Advisory Committee, serving (since 2018) as chair of the committee. In 2016 I was a Faculty Fellow at the Glasscock Center for the Humanities at Texas A&M University.

Selected Publications

    • Crisman, K., C. Kennedy, G. Schwarz (2018) Vermont’s Steamboat Pioneer: Jahaziel Sherman of Vergennes. Vermont History 86(2): 95-131.

    • Crisman, K., G. Grieco (2015) The Western River Steamboat Heroine, 1832-1838, Oklahoma, USA: Propulsion Machinery. International Journal of Nautical Archaeology 44(1): 173-195.

    • Crisman, K., editor (2014) Coffins of the Brave: Lake Shipwrecks of the War of 1812. Ed Rachal Foundation Nautical Archaeology Series, Texas A&M University Press, College Station, Texas.

    • Crisman, K. (2014) The Western River Steamboat Heroine, 1832-1838, Oklahoma, USA: construction. International Journal of Nautical Archaeology 43(1): 128-150.

    • Brophy, J.K., K. Crisman (2013) A Taphonomic Evaluation of Three Intact Pork Barrels from the Steamboat Heroine (1838). Historical Archaeology 47(4): 71-85.

    • Crisman, K., W.B. Lees, J. Davis (2013) The Western River Steamboat Heroine, 1832-1838, Oklahoma, USA: excavations, summary of finds, and history. International Journal of Nautical Archaeology 42(2): 365-381.

    • Crisman, K. (2012) The Heroine of Louisville: Archaeological Discoveries from an 1830s-Era Western River Steamboat. Ohio Valley History 12(3): 43-67.

    • Crisman, K. (2011) The Archaeology of Steamships. In The Oxford Encyclopedia of Maritime Archaeology, edited by D. Hamilton, A. Catsambis, B. Ford, pp. 610-628. Oxford University Press.

    • Crisman, K. (2004) Sails on an Inland Sea: The Evolution of Lake Champlain’s Sailing Merchant Fleet. In A Philosophy of Shipbuilding: Conceptual Approaches to the Study of Wooden Ships, edited by F. M. Hocker, C. Ward, pp. 137-162. Texas A&M University Press, College Station.

    • Crisman, K., A.B. Cohn (1998) When Horses Walked on Water: Horse-powered Ferries in Nineteenth-century America. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D.C.

    • Crisman, K. (1987) The Eagle: An American Brig on Lake Champlain During the War of 1812. The New England Press and the Naval Institute Press, Shelburne, Vermont and Annapolis.