This object is on permanent display in the South Florida People & Environments exhibit located in the “Native American Legacy” gallery.
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!
Curator, South Florida Archaeology & Ethnography
Director, Randell Research Center
Florida Museum of Natural History
Box Lid With Painted Reptile Design
From Collier Co., Florida
Dates to ~AD 700-1500