Kathryn Whelton

Student NameKathryn Whelton
Faculty Mentor NameDaniel Contreras, Ph.D.
CollegeCollege of Liberal Arts and Sciences
MajorAnthropology and Geology
MinorGeography
Research InterestsEnvironmental Archaeology, Osteology, Paleodiet reconstruction, Zooarchaeology, Geoarchaeology, Paleoclimate, Human evolution
Academic AwardsUF Honors program (2018-present), Lambda Alpha National Anthropology Honor Society (2019-present), UFIC Study Abroad Scholarship (2019), University Scholars Program (2020)
OrganizationsUndergraduate Florida Anthropology Student Association, Geoclub, Sustainable Ocean Alliance UF
Hobbies and Interestsreading, baking, cooking, sustainability, grassroots activism, science accessibility, being outdoors

Research Project

Understanding Climate as a Factor in the Decline of the Maya Occupation of Cerros, Belize?

I will be conducting stable carbon and nitrogen isotope analysis of human bone collagen from the skeletal remains of individuals from the Maya archaeological site of Cerros, Belize. My results will serve as a proxy for diet, indicating generally what food types people were consuming and how varied those food types were. I will then compare radiocarbon dates for the individuals with known paleoclimate data to determine significant climatic events occurring during the life of the individuals. This will allow me to understand how dietary diversity or lack thereof played a role in resilience to climatic changes, and how climate change may have been a factor in the downfall of the community that occupied Cerros.