Florida Museum of Natural History
anthropology and archaeology
Bill Keegan studied archaeological sites on Middle Caicos, Turks
& Caicos Islands. He also worked with the Antiquities, Museums,
and Monuments Corporation on several proposed projects in
The Bahamas and advised The Island School (Eleuthera, Bahamas)
concerning its archaeological research program. Keegan’s articles
with Betsy Carlson in the popular magazine
Times of the Islands
informed a broad audience of island residents and visitors about
topics from the first Amerindian colonization of the Turks & Caicos
to bead-making and the mythical importance of sea turtles.
Ceramic Technology Lab
Neill Wallis was hired in August 2010 as Assistant Curator of Florida
Archaeology. He and Collection Manager Ann Cordell began
upgrading equipment and improving the analytical and storage
capabilities of the lab, which is currently involved in multiple
projects with prehistoric pottery from the Southeast.
Kitty Emery and her students investigated overhunting vs.
sustainable hunting practices in the Maya region, comparing the
prey remains left by both prehistoric and modern hunters. With
recent UF Ph.D. recipient Erin Thornton, Emery also studied the
prehistoric domestication of turkeys using evidence from osteology,
osteometry and ancient DNA, discovering that the Maya kept
captive turkeys nearly 1,000 years earlier than previously recognized.
Bill Marquardt supervised the laboratory and field work at the
Pineland Site Complex by graduate students Melissa Ayvaz, Andrea
Palmiotto and Michael Wylde. With Karen Walker, Marquardt
prepared the final synthetic chapter on environmental and cultural
change for an upcoming book about the Pineland Site. Working
with colleagues from the UF Department of Geological Sciences,
University of North Florida and University of Missouri, Neill Wallis
developed protocols to investigate prehistoric ceramics using mass
spectrometry with laser ablation, a method of isolating clay from its
additives so it may be used to better understand social interactions
of early peoples. Wallis also studied collections, reassessed old
excavations and field-tested sites in Florida’s Big Bend region.
Latin American Archaeology
Susan Milbrath curated and studied archaeological materials,
especially pottery, from the spectacular Cerros site in Belize.
Southern Methodist University transferred this collection to the
Museum with permission of the Belize government, and the
Museum’s priority was analyzing the artifact caches in relation to the
Preclassic Maya architecture at Cerros. Milbrath’s archaeoastronomy
research was highlighted by publication of the book
History: Ancient Mexican Astronomy in the Codex Borgia
Spanish Colonial Archaeology
Kathleen Deagan retired in September 2010 after an outstanding
career at the Florida Museum of Natural History. Nevertheless, she
and GiffordWaters worked in the field and laboratory on16th
century Spanish Colonial sites in St. Augustine, with a focus on
comparing the material culture from St. Augustine with that of
other Spanish Colonial regions in the Americas. A major discovery
during excavations was the coquina and oyster shell foundations of
the Nombre de Dios mission, a church built in 1677 by the Spanish
governor of Florida.
Genetic Resources Repository
The Museum added nearly 3,000 DNA samples of plants, birds,
amphibians, reptiles, fishes, butterflies, marine invertebrates and
various animal tissues to its Genetic Resources Repository, bringing
the total number of specimens to about 30,000. This collection
shares materials with researchers around the world and is featured
in the Frontiers of Science display in the
Museum Collections are the
Library of Life
exhibit at Powell Hall. The exhibit highlights the wide
range of biological materials preserved for long-term storage in the
liquid nitrogen freezer.
Nico Cellinese continued the development of informatics websites
including TOLKIN (www.tolkin.org), RegNum (http://wiki.flmnh.ufl.
edu/regnum), and BiSciCol (www.BiSciCol.org) with special effort
on building interfaces to manage phenotype ontologies as well as
semantic data integration and interoperability. Reed Beaman spent
the year as a program officer at the National Science Foundation
in Washington, D.C. Larry Page, with UF co-PIs Jose Fortes, Bruce
MacFadden and Pam Soltis, was awarded a five-year, $10 million
NSF Advancing Digitization of Biological Collections grant for the
project, which will coordinate 92 institutions in 45 states
working to digitize the nation’s biological collections and serve
as a clearinghouse for museum-based biological information
across the U.S.
Archaeologist Karen Walker displays a southern quahog clam shell and other
specimens from Pine Island. Using isotopic information from the items, researchers
determined cooler, drier temperatures and lower sea levels affected the island’s
inhabitants from A.D. 500 to 800.