Anthropology is the biological and cultural study of all humanity, ancient and modern. From within the specialized area of osteology—the study of bones—comes the application of analyzing skeletal remains to cases of legal importance.
Study of the bones yields clues as to how people lived, how old they were when they died, their sex, their state of health, and types of trauma they may have experienced in life.
When osteological analysis is applied to unknown modern remains in a legal context, we are practicing forensic anthropology (forensic means legal). Forensic anthropologists help identify individuals who died in mass disasters, wars, or due to homicide, suicide, or accidental death.
The University of Tennessee has one of the country’s premier forensic anthropology programs, founded by William Bass. With numerous examples from the collections, this exhibit illustrates the scientific techniques of forensic anthropology and how these techniques are used to solve biological and legal issues.