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Body Donation


**A postmortem COVID-19 test must be administered prior to donor acceptance**

If you wish to make arrangements for an already deceased individual, please contact the Forensic Anthropology Center directly at 865-806-5106.

The Department of Anthropology receives over one hundred body donations a year. All donations are placed at the Anthropology Research Facility, with the remains eventually accessioned into the UTK Donated Skeletal Collection.

Below, information about the donor program is provided, including links to documents for potential donors to complete and return.  See our FAQs about Body Donation.

Please direct all questions and correspondence to:

Mary Davis
Assistant Director of the Forensic Anthropology Center
Department of Anthropology
1621 Cumberland Avenue, room 502A
Knoxville, TN 37996-1525
Phone: (865) 974-4408

  • Please Read the Forensic Anthropology Donation Program Policy.
  • Donation of your body to the Department of Anthropology does not prevent donation of other tissues or organs.
  • We do not accept donations in cases where:
    • The individual has an active multi-drug resistant organism (MDRO) infection or COVID-19 infection at the time of their death.
    • The individual has contracted Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), any Hepatitis (A, B, or C), tuberculosis (TB), or antibiotic resistant bacterial infections such as MRSA. In addition, we do not accept donations in cases where the individual has contracted HIV and received a diagnosis of Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) during their lifetime.
      • We will accept a donation if an individual successfully completes treatment for Hepatitis C and provides titer results documenting their negative status.
  • There is no cost to you or your family for the donation of your body to the Department of Anthropology.  If you are in Tennessee and within 100 miles of Knoxville we can pick up your body at no charge. Please be aware that we cannot remove donor bodies from hospice facilities, nursing homes or private residences so a funeral home will need to be called, even if the death occurs within 100 miles of Knoxville. If you are more than 100 miles from Knoxville, or outside the state of Tennessee (regardless of mileage) at the time of your death, your family will be responsible for arranging transportation of your body to our facility. Please contact a local funeral service to discuss the necessary arrangements.
  • If you wish to donate your body:
    1. Click here to download the complete Body Donation Packet. If you would prefer to have the Body Donation Packet mailed to you, please click here to fill out a request form and we will mail a packet to you.
    2. In the packet, you will need to complete and return the Body Donation Document. The document requires two additional signatures. We suggest multiple copies of the Body Donation Document be made and maintained by the donor’s next-of-kin, attorney, or physician. We also recommend that you seek the advice of a private attorney to assure that the document accomplishes your intent and is consistent with any existing testamentary documents.
    3. In the packet, you will need to complete and return the Biological Questionnaire. It is very helpful to have documentation of known medical conditions if at all possible. All information is considered confidential.
    4. Please send a photograph of yourself (via mail or email) to keep in our records. A frontal view of the face is preferred (similar to a passport or driver’s license photo), but any photograph is acceptable. We request a photograph so research involving facial reconstruction and photographic superimposition as a means for identifying unknown individuals may be conducted on skeletal remains of known individuals.
    5. You will receive a Donor Card to keep in your records and assist you in making your wishes known.

If you wish to make arrangements for an already deceased individual, please contact the Forensic Anthropology Center directly at 865-806-5106.

If you are a researcher interested in research opportunities using the FAC facilities and collections, please refer to the Research page for more information.