Ask a Forensics Expert All Your Questions About Working on a Body Farm

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How do forensics experts know what they know? A lot of it is due to research done on body farms, research facilities that examine how bodies decompose. Today, forensic anthropologist Dawnie Steadman, the director of the nation’s oldest body farm, is here to answer all your questions.

Besides decomposition, the University of Tennessee’s Forensic Anthropology Center also studies how to identify remains, and what kinds of forensic clues bodies leave behind. It was the first facility of its kind in the country.


Steadman has a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago and directs the University of Tennessee’s Forensic Anthropology Center. She frequently consults for medical examiners and police departments on issues of forensic anthropology. In addition to her work in forensics and pathology, she is also an expert in bioarchaeology, forensic human rights investigations, and human identification. She’s a Vice President of the American Board of Forensic Anthropology and assisted in the identification efforts at the World Trade Center, the Tri-State Crematorium in Noble, Georgia and the crash of Colgan Air Flight 3407.

Dr. Steadman will be here today from 10:00 - 11:00 a.m., so start asking her your questions in the comments now!


Top image: Excavation at the UTK body farm.