Training: Forensic Identification of Human Skeletal Remains
Dates & Locations
THE UNH CLASS IS FULL
CLASS COST: $295
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.