Dennis Dirkmaat, Ph.D.,
Director, Applied Forensic Sciences Dept. 
Professor of Anthropology
Mercyhurst University

Dr. Dirkmaat is the Chair of the undergraduate program in Applied Forensic Sciences and the Masters of Science in Anthropology (Forensic and Biological Anthropology Concentration) at Mercyhurst University, in Erie, PA. Dr. Dirkmaat has conducted over 400 forensic anthropology cases for nearly 40 coroners, medical examiners and the state police in Pennsylvania, New York, Ohio and West Virginia. He has published articles on the role of archaeology and forensic anthropology in forensic investigations, fatal fire scenes and mass fatalities.


Dr. Dirkmaat has been a member of the Federal Government’s Disaster Mortuary Operational Response Team (DMORT) since its inception. Dr. Dirkmaat serves as a consultant for international companies involved in the recovery and identification of victims of plane crashes from around the world as well as other mass disaster events. He has completed two major grant projects for the design of national scene processing protocols for mass disasters, terrorist attacks and fatal fires by the National Institute of Justice, US Department of Justice. As an instructor, Dr. Dirkmaat has nearly two decades of experience organizing training courses and lecturing for local, state and federal agencies in the US, Mexico, Chile, Canada and Spain. He has also presented over 70 lectures and papers discussing forensic investigation and anthropology at numerous regional, national and international meetings.

Attention Crime Writers! Ever wanted to ask an expert about the postmortem decomposition process? About how to make your crime scenes more realistic? Here is your chance to ask an expert! Click here to contact Dr. Dirkmaat for any inquiries! 


2020 - Outstanding Mentor Award 

Dr. Dirkmmat is the first member of the Anthropology section at American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS) to win the outstanding mentor award. AAFS defines the award as one "designed to honor mentors who exemplify extraordinary selflessness as they support and contribute to the career development and advancement of students, colleagues, and the discipline of forensic anthropology. This award recognizes an individual who has excelled at mentoring others in achieving their career objectives through moral, social, and intellectual support." To learn about Dr. Dirkmaat's nomination, click here


To read the speech about Dr. Dirkmmat receiving this honor, check out the PDF below! 

2020 - T. Dale Stewart Award

Dr. Dirkmaat is the latest winner of the T. Dale Stewart award. This is considered the top award in the Anthropology section at the American Academy of Forensic Sciences annual meetings. Specifically, it celebrates "a member of the [AAFS anthropology] section for outstanding contributions to the field of forensic physical anthropology."


To read the speech about Dr. Dirkmmat receiving this honor, check out the PDF below! 

Check out the video below to learn how Dr. Dirkmaat became interested in forensic anthropology and how he has worked to incorporate forensic archaeology to answer important questions about the outdoor forensic scene.

Dr. Dirkmaat

Recent interview for Johnstown, PA, Tribune

Check out the video below to hear how Dr. Dirkmaat aided coroner Wallace Miller after the Flight 93 crash in Pennsylvania:

Dr. Dirkmaat

Recent interview for Friends of Flight 93
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Dennis Dirkmaat,
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Michael Hochrein,
FBI (Ret.)

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