Training: Forensic Identification of Human Skeletal Remains 


Dates & Locations

UNH Police Dept. Class





Competent recovery and analysis of human remains is an essential component of death investigations.  Archaeological field excavation methods can be adapted for various outdoor recoveries involving decomposed, mummified, burned, or otherwise compromised human remains. 

This is a two-day course focused on the identification of human skeletal remains in a field-based setting. The first day will consist of hands-on instruction in a classroom where participants will handle skeletal remains in a working forensic anthropology laboratory. Basic human osteology and human/non-human bone identification will be reviewed, as well as a special focus on basic trauma analysis (e.g., blunt force, sharp force, gunshot wound, burning). 

The second day will be field based where participants will work in teams to excavate mock burials using proper archaeological equipment and documentation methods. Care will be taken to interpret each mock burial in forensic and environmental context. Topics of discussion and training will include:

  • Basic elements of the biological profile (estimation of age, sex, stature, etc.)
  • Human/non-human bone identification
  • Interpretation of traumatic injury to the skeleton
  • Postmortem interval (“time since death”) effects on the human skeleton
  • Northern New England specific environmental alterations to bone
  • Excavation methods/identifying remains in the field

Instructor: Dr. Amy Michael is a biological anthropologist and the Director of Forensic Anthropology Identification and Recovery (FAIR) Lab at the University of New Hampshire.  Her interests include collaborative and novel approaches to resolving cold cases, forensic search and recovery methods, and interpretation of skeletal and dental microstructure in forensic cases. She received her Ph.D. in Anthropology from Michigan State University in 2016 and has worked on archaeological projects in the U.S., Albania, and Belize. To date, Dr. Michael has been involved in 100+ forensic cases ranging from human/non-human bone identification to full exhumations and complex field recoveries. She has worked at UNH since 2018 and has partnered with New Hampshire State Police, DNA Doe Project, historical societies, and more to analyze unidentified human remains. 


Cancellation & Refund Policy

GSPCC has a 10-day cancellation policy. Any cancellations less than 10 days from the class start date will not be refunded. Because seating in our courses can be limited, we ask that all cancellations be made at least 10 days prior to the class start date.

We understand there may be exceptions due to unforeseen serious events. If your cancellation is due to a serious issue and is not within 10 days of the first day of the class, GSPCC staff will evaluate the circumstances and work with you on a refund.