Staff Spotlight

Dr. Kitty F. Emery

Kitty Emery headshotAssociate Curator, Environmental Archaeology
114 Dickinson Hall
Museum Road & Newell Drive
GainesvilleFL 32611



Ph.D. Cornell University, 1997

Florida Museum Environmental Archaeology Program

Research Site


Concurrent Appointments

Affiliate Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology; Affiliate, Land Use and Environmental Change Institute, and Latin American Studies.


Research Interests

With the Florida Museum Environmental Archaeology team, I study ancient animal, plant, and soil remains to investigate the ancient relationship between humans and the environments within which they lived. Our projects span the circum-Caribbean from the Southeastern United States to northern Peru. I work in the tropical forests of Central America, using the environmental remains recovered in archaeological deposits to understand how the ancient Maya and other Mesoamerican cultures used (and sometimes abused) their natural world. I have worked in Belize, Honduras, and Guatemala for 20 years, and am currently studying animal materials from several Maya sites while also collaborating with other environmental and archaeological researchers to trace the distribution of environmental resources through the Classic Maya community of Motul de San Jose, Guatemala.


Courses Taught at UF

Lessons from Ancient Environments (Anthropology, 2002, 2003)

Environmental Archaeology (Anthropology, 2004, 2005, 2008, 2009)

Zooarchaeology of Central America (Anthropology, 2008, 2010)

Environmental Archaeology Journal Club (Anthropology, 2011)


Current Graduate Students (Chair)

Ashley Sharpe, Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Anthropology
Maya Animals and Politics in the Preclassic

Petra Cunningham-Smith, Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Anthropology
Zooarchaeology of the Maya Coast

Lisa Duffy, Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Anthropology
Residues of Maya Cuisines


Scott Macrae, Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Anthropology
Terracing, Agricultural Production, and Polity Interactions, Minanha, Belize

(I also serve on committees for the following students (Anthropology unless otherwise noted): Christine Craig SNRE, Michelle LeFebvre, Pio Saqui, Nicole Cannarozzi, Jeffrey Vadala. Graduated students include: (PhD) Michael Rosenmeier Geology, Ivan Batun, Erin Thornton; (MA) Sarah Newell Geology, Michelle LeFebvre, Tria Ellison, Karen Pereira, Elyse Anderson, Erol Kavountzis, Michael Kay, Ashley Sharpe, Lizzy Hare, Ryan VanDyke.)



Irvy Quitmyer - Collection Manager, Zooarchaeologist, Environmental Archaeology

Donna Ruhl - Archaeobotanist, Environmental Archaeology


Representative Publications

Foias, Antonia and Kitty F. Emery (in press) History, Politics and Economics in Classic Maya Civilization: Recent Investigations at Motul de San Jose, Guatemala. University of Florida Press, Gainesville.

Emery, Kitty F. and Linda A. Brown (2012) Maya Hunting Sustainability: Perspectives from Past and Present. In To Report or Not to Report: Amerindian Warfare, Environmental Degradation, and the Anthropologist’s Dilemma, pp. 79-116, edited by Richard J. Chacon and Rubén G. Mendoza, Springer Press, New York.

Emery, Kitty F. (2010) Dietary, Environmental, and Societal Implications of Ancient Maya Animal Use in the Petexbatun: A Zooarchaeological Perspective on the Collapse. Vanderbilt Institute of Mesoamerican Archaeology Volume 5. Vanderbilt University Press, Nashville, TN.

Emery, Kitty F. (2009) Maya Bone Crafting: Defining the Nature of a Late/Terminal Classic Maya Bone Tool Manufacturing Locus. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 28:458-470

Brown, Linda A. and Kitty F. Emery (2008) Negotiations with the Animate Forest: Hunting Shrines and Houses in the Maya Highlands.Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory 15(4):300-337

Emery, Kitty F. and Erin K. Thornton (2008) Zooarchaeological Habitat Analysis of Ancient Maya Landscape Changes. Journal of Ethnobiology 28(2):154-179

Emery, Kitty F. and Erin K. Thornton (2008) Zooarchaeological Isotopic Chemistry: A Regional Perspective on Biotic Change during the Classic Maya Occupation of the Guatemalan Petén. Quaternary International 191:131-143.

Emery, Kitty F. (2008) A Zooarchaeological Test for Dietary Resource Depression at the End of the Classic Period in the Petexbatun, Guatemala. Human Ecology 36(5):617-634.

Emery, Kitty F. (2007) Assessing the Impact of Ancient Maya Animal Use. Journal of Nature Conservation 15(3):184-195

Emery, Kitty F. and Kazuo Aoyama (2007) Bone Tool Manufacturing in Elite Maya Households at Aguateca, Guatemala. Ancient Mesoamerica 18(2):69-89.

Emery, Kitty F. (2004) Maya Zooarchaeology: New Directions in Method and Theory. Edited volume. Cotsen Institute of Archaeology, Monograph 51. Los Angeles, CA.