Forensic anthropology

What is forensic anthropology ?

Examining human remains in Pompeii

Examining human remains in Pompeii.

Forensic anthropology is the study of human remains using traditional physical anthropological techniques in a medico-legal context.

The primary focus is identifying the deceased when the body's condition makes using standard methods difficult.

Information about an individual’s 

  • age
  • sex
  • stature 
  • ancestral background 

can be provided from remains which are in an advanced state of decomposition, burned, dismembered or fragmentary.  

A forensic anthropologist can also be looking for signs of disease or other identifying characteristics and provides analysis of trauma and tool marks. 

Forensic anthropologists also assist in the recovery of skeletal remains.

  • Measuring a femur to determine stature
    How can we help you ?

    The Museum's forensic anthropologists have a wide range of skills and expertise to offer. Find out more about the services on offer and how they can help your investigations.

  • Investigating human remains at a crime scene

    The Museum's forensic anthropologists attend crime scenes and post - mortem examinations analysing human remains and advising crime scene personnel and pathologists on methodologies. Discover more about the investigations involving the Museum's forensic anthropologists.

  • Examining human remains in Pompeii

    Find out more about the Museum's forensic anthropology team, their skills and experience.

For further information contact

Heather Bonney

Department of Earth Sciences
Natural History Museum
Cromwell Road

Tel: +44 (0)20 7942 5014


NHM Consulting

Natural History Museum
Cromwell Road

Tel: +44 (0)20 7942 5019
Fax: +44 (0)20 7942 5841

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