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The Body Farm: What the Bones Reveal

Evening Lecture/Seminar

Tuesday, October 3, 2023 - 6:30 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. ET
Code: 1H0781
This online program is presented on Zoom.
This program will not be recorded.
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A student excavates a shallow grave at the body farm in Knoxville, Tennessee

Please Note: This online program will not be recorded. It also has a rescheduled date (originally August 24, 2023).

To many people, a skeleton is just a hopeless pile of bones. But to a forensic anthropologist, skeletal remains pulled from a forest or desert or out of mass graves are the key to identifying a unique individual and even how and when they died. And nowhere else do they get a better sense of the whys and hows of decomposition than at the Forensic Anthropology Center at the University of Tennessee, aka the body farm. It is here that donated bodies decompose under every imaginable circumstance: left in the open air, the woods, or shallow graves submerged in water; locked in the trunks of cars; and concealed beneath concrete. The purpose is straightforward: to allow scientists to determine exactly how and when a real-life murder victim died. The database created from this research is an invaluable tool for law enforcement officials.

Dawnie Wolfe Steadman, the director of the Forensic Anthropology Center, digs into how forensic anthropologists from around the world study these bodies.

General Information

Inside Science