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


Carved Crane Head
From Lee Co., Florida
Dates to ~AD 850-1000

Donated by Phyllis Thomasson


South Florida Archaeology


This carving of a crane’s head is made of cypress wood and it was found at the Pineland site in Southwest Florida. It’s about 1,100 years old. We believe it’s the top part of a two-part-bird-head effigy; but the bottom part was never found. The holes on the side were part of a mechanism to allow the beak of the carving to snap shut when a string was pulled. It might have been part of dramatic performance, or part of a costume of a dancer. What do you think?

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.

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