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The University of Tennessee

University of Tennessee College of Arts and Sciences

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We do not provide tours of our Outdoor Research Facility.

The Forensic Anthropology Center:

Dr. William M. Bass arrived at The University of Tennessee Knoxville in 1971. He oversaw the development of the forensic anthropology program at UTK, which culminated in the creation of the Forensic Anthropology Center within the Department of Anthropology. Many resources for students, researchers, and law enforcement agencies are available.

Human identification services have now been provided through the State Medical Examiner System for the District Attorney General's Office, arson investigators, and various state, local, and national law enforcement agencies and county medical examiners for over thirty years.

Click here to download an Information Brochure about the Forensic Anthropology Center.

The purpose of the Forensic Anthropology Center is to provide research, training and service with compassion. As the heart and soul of the Forensic Anthropology Center, the donation program ensures that all of the families and donors are treated with the utmost respect and compassion. Each person is of tremendous scientific value and we are grateful to our donors and their families.


  • The Anthropology Research Facility is the first of its kind to permit systematic study of human decomposition. The 1.3 acres of land made famous by Dr. Bass will soon be expanding. This addition will allow for studies using advanced technology to quantify how bodies interact with the environment.
  • The skeletal collections provide unparalleled opportunities to study modern human skeletal variation, pathology and trauma. The hallmark of these collections is the Bass Donated Skeletal Collection that now consists of nearly 1000 individuals, the largest collection of contemporary human skeletons in the United States.
  • The Forensic Data Bank (FDB) contains data on over 3400 forensic cases in the U.S. and has recently expanded to include contemporary individuals from Central and South America, Europe and Asia. The FDB has been instrumental in documenting change within the human population.
  • Most of the collections and facilities are available to qualified researchers. See the Research page and contact Dr. Dawnie Steadman for further information.


  • The FAC offers several week-long professional development courses to the anthropological community. These courses make use of many of the collections, the new Bass Building, and the Anthropology Research Facility.
  • The FAC provides specialty courses throughout the year for several agencies including the National Forensic Academy, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Kentucky Criminalistic Academy.


  • The FAC faculty and staff provide forensic anthropologic services (e.g., skeletal analysis, body recovery, etc.) to a variety of medico-legal agencies.
  • The donation program enables individuals to contribute to science in a direct and meaningful way.
  • Faculty, staff and graduate students provide lectures to civic groups, school-age children, and the general public to promote science and disseminate our research results.
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Contact Information

Forensic Anthropology Center
Department of Anthropology

250 South Stadium Hall
Knoxville, TN USA

Phone: 865-974-4408

Fax: 865-974-2686