The Florida Museum research building hosts a rotating exhibit highlighting recent student research guided by a Florida Museum mentor. Posters are on display at Dickinson Hall for one semester and then permanently archived on this website.

Contact information for current Museum graduate students is available on the Graduate Student Directory, through links to the University of Florida departments, or via the Florida Museum mentors.

Click any poster to download the PDF.


Hunting Caches of the Highland Maya

Author: Elyse Anderson, M.A. Candidate, Anthropology

Florida Museum Research Mentor: Kitty Emery, Environmental Archaeology (Chair)

Previous research by Dr. Linda Brown has led to the identification of at least 20 hunting shrines hidden among the volcanic mountains surrounding Lake Atitlán, Guatemala. These shrines mark the location where Maya hunters would communicate with the Guardian of the Animals and deposit curated remains of their successful hunts. Often located within caves or rockshelters, these shrines include caches composed of massive quantities of animal remains. This past summer a team of FLMNH archaeologists and Maya ritual practicioners came together to explore the activities of hunting ceremonialism through the study of the material remains associated with these sites. For zooarchaeology, the study of animal remains from archaeological sites, these hunting caches provided an excellent opportunity to explore the ritual use of animals within the Maya world.

Comparative Demographics of Creek-dwelling Loggerhead Musk Turtles at Nokuse Plantation

Author: Benjamin Atkinson, M.S., Interdisciplinary Ecology, 2009

Florida Museum Research Mentor: Max Nickerson, Herpetology

Nokuse Plantation is a 21,000-ha private conservation tract in the western FL panhandle. The property borders the lower Choctawhatchee River and the region, eastward to the Apalachicola River drainage and westward to Mobile Bay, hosts the richest diversity of freshwater turtles in the United States. The most ubiquitous chelonian in lotic Nokuse habitats is the loggerhead musk turtle, Sternotherus minor ssp., which exhibits influence of the peltifer race (stripe-necked musk turtles). Turtles were surveyed intensively in four creeks via hoop nets, modified crayfish traps, and hand-capture. Morphometric data were recorded and turtles were marked for recapture; chelonian communities varied greatly by stream. Seven Runs Creek is a clear running sand-bottomed seepage stream fed by numerous steepheads. Dismal Creek and Big Cypress Creek are slow-moving floodplain swamp-fed blackwater creeks. Black Creek is a blackwater stream with stronger current, a sand-bottom and is fed in part by seepage. Physical and chemical differences appear to influence diversity and abundance of freshwater turtle.


Were the Prehistoric Maya Vegetarians? Excavations of Faunal Remains, or the Lack, at the site of Guijarral, Belize

Author: Erol Kavountzis, M.A. Candidate, Anthropology

Florida Museum Research Mentor: Kitty Emery, Environmental Archaeology (Chair)

The purpose of this study was to locate and recover faunal and floral remains from archaeological middens at the rural Maya site of Guijarral (RB-18) located in Northwestern Belize and occupied in the Late and Terminal Classic (A.D. 600-900). I used shovel test pitting around the site center to find concentrations of both botanical and animal bones from the area. I was interested in exploring how preservation and recovery methods affected the quantity and type of remains recovered and, on a larger scale, how zooarchaeological sampling methods affected our understanding of the utilization of animals by the ancient Maya.


Reconstructing Ancient Maya Animal Use through Zooarchaeology

Author: Erin Kennedy Thornton, PhD Candidate, Anthropology

Florida Museum Research Mentor: Kitty Emery, Environmental Archaeology (Chair)

The ancient Maya inhabited an ecologically diverse area stretching from southeastern Mexico to central Honduras. Within this context, an area of particular interest is the range of variation in ancient Maya animal use and exploitation. Reconstructing patterns of Maya diet and animal use is significant to understanding how the Maya were able to feed their growing populations, what habitats they exploited most heavily, and whether or not their subsistence practices led to ecological degradation. Maya animal use is also of interest due to the importance of animals and animal products in Maya ritual, trade, and tribute. Patterns of ancient animal use may be explored through the interdisciplinary field of zooarchaeology, or the identification and analysis of archaeological bone, tooth and shell remains.