This object is on permanent display in the Museum’s South Florida People & Environments exhibit located in the “Native American Legacy” gallery.


Box Lid With Painted Reptile Design
From Collier Co., Florida
Dates to ~AD 700-1500


South Florida Archaeology


The legend of the horned serpent is a recurring theme throughout the Indian peoples of the southeastern United States and maybe this horned gator is the South Florida version of it. These painted wooden objects were found at the famous Key Marco site on present-day Marco Island. This painted image of a horned alligator is actually the side of a wooden box. You can tell how the box was made by looking at the edges. You can see other box sides in this same exhibit case. All have painted images, and you may have noticed that the paintings are all on the inside of the box, not on the outside!

Bill Marquardt
Curator, South Florida Archaeology & Ethnography*
Director, Randell Research Center*
Florida Museum of Natural History


On display Sept. 23, 2017-Jan. 7, 2018, Rare, Beautiful & Fascinating: 100 Years @FloridaMuseum celebrated the Museum’s rich history. Each Museum collection was asked to contribute its most interesting items and share the stories that make them special. Though the physical exhibit is closed, this companion website remains online, providing an opportunity to experience the Florida Museum’s most treasured specimens.

Exhibit Area: Always on Display

Cover of the All Things Beautiful bookWant to see more? Explore more than 300 breathtaking color photos of plants, animals, fossils and cultural heritage materials from the Florida Museum of Natural History’s collections in the award-winning book All Things Beautiful available from the University Press of Florida.

*This title was accurate at the time the exhibit was on display in 2017. Please visit the collection website to verify current staff and student information.

You Might Also Like