Mercyhurst Archaeological Institute

Short Courses in Forensic Anthropology

Please direct all inquiries to Kathi Staaf

2015 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 1, 2015 to June 5, 2015
  • Location: Mercyhurst University, Erie, PA
  • Price: $795 (10% discount available for multiple courses)

2014 Syllabus [pdf]


Fragmentary Human Osteology

The goal of this five-day short course is to familiarize students and professionals with the identification of fragmentary human skeletal remains frequently encountered in Biological, Bioarchaeological, and Forensic Anthropological contexts. Emphasis will be placed on identifying and siding fragmentary human bone, differentiating human from non-human bone, recognizing sub-adult remains, and understanding the basics of bone biology. Participants will be introduced to normal human variation, as well as, taphonomic and pathological changes. The course involves extensive hands-on opportunities with hundreds of real bone fragments, supplemented by detailed lectures, presentations, and actual forensic case studies and archaeological samples.

  • Date: June 8, 2015 to June 12, 2015
  • Location: Mercyhurst University, Erie, PA
  • Price: $795 (10% discount available for multiple courses)

2015 Syllabus [pdf]


Analysis of Bone 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 15, 2015 to June 19, 2015
  • Location: Mercyhurst University, Erie, PA
  • Price: $795 (10% discount available for multiple courses)

2014 Syllabus [pdf]


Documentation and Interpretation of the Fatal Fire Scene

The goal of this five-day short course is to familiarize participants with current methods employed during the recovery of victims from fatal fire scenes. Focus will be on search techniques and evidence documentation protocols that result in efficient, effective, and timely fatal fire scene recovery operations. Following classroom training, students will participate in the recovery of a mock fatal fire involving a burned structure and animal proxies. Experience will be gained in using electronic total station, survey-grade GPS, basics of GIS, and in forensic archaeological recoveries. Soft tissue and skeletal modifications resulting from fire exposure will also be covered, as will numerous case studies.

  • Date: June 22, 2015 to June 26, 2015
  • Location: Mercyhurst University, Erie, PA
  • Price: $795 (10% discount available for multiple courses)

2015 Syllabus [pdf]

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