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Collections and Research

We have many resources for students, researchers, and law enforcement agencies. These include skeletal collections, decomposition facilities, and more. To request permission for access to any of these facilities please contact Dr. Steadman and complete the Research Request forms.

Anthropological Research Facility

Dr. Bass and students at the Facility
Dr. Bass and students at the Facility

The Research Facility, opened at its present location in 1980 by Dr. William M. Bass, provides an ideal setting to scientifically document postmortem change. This outdoor field laboratory enables the investigation of parameters which are crucial in time since death estimates. Donated remains make this research possible and simultaneously provide a modern osteological teaching collection. Presently, this demographically-rich collection consists of almost 650 skeletons and growing. These individuals are essential for providing education and training in forensic anthropology and skeletal biology for students and law enforcement agencies. They are also invaluable for updating demographic and biological standards. Please contact Dr. Dawnie Steadman regarding use of this facility.

William M. Bass Donated Skeletal Collection

This skeletal collection was started in 1981 under the direction of Dr. Bass. The collection currently contains nearly 1200 individuals and growing. The collection also contains over 40 cremated individuals. The goal of the body donation program is to build this collection of known individuals for research purposes. Potential research using this collection ranges from skeletal biological and forensic to dental, biomedical and genetics as well as other fields. The demographic profile includes predominantly Americans of European and African ancestry, and a smaller portion of Hispanic ancestry. The age range of the individuals is from fetal up to 101 years. Please contact Dr. Dawnie Steadman regarding use of this facility.

William M. Bass Forensic Skeletal Collection

The William Bass Forensic Skeletal Collection began with his tenure as State Forensic Anthropologist in the 1970's and consists of over 100 cases that have skeletal elements present. A small portion of relatively complete cases represent positively identified individuals, while most of the ones in this collection remain unidentified. Various types of perimortem trauma are represented in this collection such as gunshot wounds, stabbing and other sharp force injury, and blunt force trauma. The individuals in this collection are predominantly from Tennessee. This collection is currently unavailable for research.

Forensic Anthropology Data Bank

The Forensic Anthropology Data Bank (FDB) was started in 1986 with a grant from the National Institute of Justice. The FDB contains extensive demographic information for many cases, including place of birth, medical history, occupation, stature, and weight. The skeletal information for cases includes cranial and postcranial metrics, suture closure information, various aging criteria scores, non-metric cranial information, perimortem trauma, congenital traits, and dental observations. In addition, we are currently collecting 3D coordinate data for cases that come throughout the University of Tennessee and other contributing organizations and institutions.

McCormick Collection

The McCormick Collection includes skeletal elements from more than 900 individuals with known demographic information. Derived from East Tennessee Medical Examiner (or autopsy) cases, the collection consists of partial human skeletal remains, mostly representing cranial portions with gunshot trauma, hyoids, and clavicles.

Oak Ridge National Laboratory

The Forensic Anthropology Center has enjoyed a constructive research relationship with the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Some of our recent research initiatives include decomposition, biometric and remote sensing studies.

Recent Research

Our faculty and students are involved in a wide range of research involving our collections as well as our facilities. Because of the wealth of resources here, many of the graduate student research projects utilize the ARF or collections housed at the FAC. We also host many visiting scholars that utilize either the ARF or one or more of our skeletal collections. International scholars have visited us from Europe, Australia, Japan and Korea.

Click here for recent publications and presentations using the FAC resources.

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Contact Information

Forensic Anthropology Center
Department of Anthropology

250 South Stadium Hall
Knoxville, TN USA
37996-0760

Phone: 865-974-4408

Fax: 865-974-2686

Email: fac@utk.edu