Florida Cabinet Approves Additional USF Research at Dozier

USF research team could begin excavations later this month.

From left to right: USF Researcher Dr. Erin Kimmerle, Attorney General Pam Bondi, USF Research Dr. Christian Wells. Photo by Lara Wade-Martinez | USF News.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Aug.6, 2013) - The Florida Cabinet voted unanimously Tuesday to allow University of South Florida researchers to continue their work at the former Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys in Marianna, Fla., including the excavation of human remains.

The Cabinet, acting as the Florida Board of Trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust Fund, approved a joint land-use agreement with the Department of Environmental Protection.

Earlier this year the Florida Legislature allocated $190,000 to USF for this research.

USF researchers could begin excavation work in August.

Led by forensic anthropologist Erin Kimmerle, an associate professor in USF’s Department of Anthropology, the team has previously used ground penetrating radar to map the area and dug trenches to analyze soil displacements at the site off Interstate 10 in Florida’s Panhandle.

The Dozier site contains a cemetery with 31 metal crosses, but the USF team has identified at least 19 additional grave shafts in wooded areas outside the marked cemetery. Dozier school records show 84 boys died at the institution between 1911 and 1973.

Kimmerle was previously granted permission from the state Department of Environmental Protection to access the land, and received a permit for archaeological research to locate and document graves associated with the Boot Hill Cemetery from the state Division of Historical Resources.

The multi-disciplinary effort involves USF’s departments of Anthropology, Biology, the Forensic Anthropology Laboratory and USF Libraries Special Collections. The group is attempting to document the history of the cemetery.