Mercyhurst Archaeological Institute

Short Courses in Forensic Anthropology

Please direct all inquiries to Kathi Staaf

2014 Forensic Anthropology Short Course Flyer


Death-Scene Archaeology: Field Methods in the Location, Recovery, & Interpretation of Human Remains from Outdoor Contexts

This five-day course will introduce participants to the principles and methodologies of Forensic Archaeology. Lectures and mock outdoor crime scenes will be used to describe state-of-the-art methods available to investigators during the documentation and recovery of physical evidence - including human remains - from a variety of outdoor contexts, including surface scattered sites & buried body features.

  • Date: June 2, 2014 to June 6, 2014
  • Location: Mercyhurst University, Erie, PA
  • Price: $795 (10% discount available for multiple courses)

2013 Syllabus [pdf]


Laboratory Methods in the Identification of Human Skeletal Remains

The goal of this five-day short course is to familiarize students and professionals with the best methods of analyzing human skeletal remains in the laboratory in light of the Daubert decision. The emphasis will be on personal identification through statistical estimation of age, sex, ancestry, and stature, as well as recognition of personalizing features. Taphonomic changes to the human skeleton under various conditions will also be covered. Extensive hands-on opportunities with demonstrations, casts, and case studies will supplement the detailed lectures and presentations.

  • Date: June 9, 2014 to June 13, 2014
  • Location: Mercyhurst University, Erie, PA
  • Price: $795 (10% discount available for multiple courses)

2013 Syllabus [pdf]


Analysis of Bone Trauma and Pseudo-Trauma in Suspected Violent Deaths.

The goal of this five-day short course is to familiarize students and professionals with current analytical methods in the interpretation of bone trauma. Focus will be on the differentiation of ante-, peri-, and postmortem trauma to bone, beginning with recognition and preliminary interpretation at autopsy through biomechanical interpretations in the laboratory. Students will be provided with extensive hands-on opportunities with demonstration, cast, and case-study specimens which will supplement the detailed lectures and presentations.

  • Date: June 16, 2014 to June 20, 2014
  • Location: Mercyhurst University, Erie, PA
  • Price: $795 (10% discount available for multiple courses)

2013 Syllabus [pdf]


Documentation and Interpretation of the Mass Fatality Scene

This five-day short course will familiarize participants with current methods employed during the recovery of victims from a mass fatality incident. Focus will be on search techniques and evidence documentation protocols, that result in efficient, effective, and timely disaster scene recovery operations. Following classroom training, students will participate in the recovery of a mock disaster scene involving a detonated vehicle. Experience will be gained in the use of the electronic total station, survey-grade GPS, as well as basics of GIS. Morgue operations and numerous case studies, including United Flight 93 and ColganAir Flight 3407, will also be discussed.

  • Date: June 23, 2014 to June 27, 2014
  • Location: Mercyhurst University, Erie, PA
  • Price: $795 (10% discount available for multiple courses)

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