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Core Principles: Forensic Osteology

Primary Course Instructors: Dennis C. Dirkmaat, Ph.D., D-ABFA (Mercyhurst University); Nicholas Passalacqua, Ph.D., D-ABFA (Western Carolina University); Alexandra Klales, Ph.D. (Washburn University); Sara Getz, Ph.D., D-ABFA (University of Wisconsin-Platteville); Erin Chapman, Ph.D. (Erie County Medical Examiner's Office); Christopher Rainwater, M.S. (New York City Medical Examiner's Office); Michael J. Hochrein, Special Agent FBI, Ret.); Luis Cabo, M.S. (Mercyhurst University); and Joe Adserias-Garriga, DDS, Ph.D., D-ABFO (Mercyhurst University)

Click here to learn more about the Instructors! 
The goal of this five-day short course is to present a crash course in the latest research and laboratory techniques in the field of forensic anthropology. Taught at an advanced introductory level, participants will be exposed to the latest principles, practices, and methods in the discipline. The course will be taught by some of the best forensic anthropologists in North America, including many ABFA Board-certified forensic anthropologists, who are actively conducting research, publishing and conducting forensic anthropological casework.
This course will cover all current aspects of forensic osteology, including establishing forensic significance in the field, the laboratory analyses involved in fragmentary osteology, estimating the biological profile [age, sex, stature, and ancestry], and human skeletal trauma analysis..
Students: If you are thinking of a career in the field of biological anthropology, forensic anthropology, and even bioarchaeology, this course will provide you with a better understanding of what is required to set you on that trajectory. In addition to lectures on state-of-the-field methods, research and experiences in forensic anthropology, you will also be able to interact with the top professionals in the field of forensic anthropology. Each speaker will devote a portion of their presentation to their own career trajectory, and provide guidance to rising students. As an added bonus, our laboratories filled with extensive human and animal osteological collections will be open for after-hours practice and personalized training with our graduate students.
Teachers and Instructors: If you are currently teaching or plan to teach a class in forensic anthropology, this course will thoroughly prepare you by providing a guidebook of topics, latest research, and case experiences encompassed by the field. This will also provide you with professional connections with the top forensic anthropologists in the country.
Professionals: If you are a medicolegal death investigator, or criminal investigator working with human remains from outdoor scenes, this course would be of great interest to you in terms of understanding the roles and benefits of employing forensic archaeological recovery methods during the processing of the outdoor forensic scene, as well as how to better interpret the evidence from the scene, including the human biological tissues. You will also know what is to be expected when involving a forensic anthropologist in your investigation.

For those interested in the field aspect of forensic anthropology to get a well-rounded introduction to all of forensic anthropology, check out our
Core Principles: Outdoor Crime Scene Reconstruction course being offered June 6-10, 2022. 


May 30 - June 3, 2022



Course Location: Mercyhurst University, Erie, PA


Course Participants: Individuals over 18yrs of age. Limed to 20 participants.

  1. College and University students (undergraduate and graduate);

  2. College professors and instructors (teaching classes in Forensic Anthropology, Biological Anthropology, Forensic Science, Criminalistics, Medicolegal Death Investigation, and Criminal Law); and

  3. Professionals in law enforcement, criminal investigation, medicolegal death investigation, and the legal profession (prosecutors, defense attorneys).

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