This website is a resource for forensic anthropology students studying or aiming to study in the United States. The goal of this website is to pair the professional history of the discipline with the current field. Making it more accessible and open to upcoming students and simultaneously making the field more united. The future goal of this website is to extend the data beyond the United States.
1800s - 1930s
The formative period ranges from the early 1800s to 1938. Forensic practitioners and researchers were anatomists, physicians, and some biological anthropologists who were asked to consult on skeletonized remains. During this period, there was no formal instruction in forensic applications of biological anthropology with minimal research. With regard to medicolegal applications of the discipline, practitioners were either informally trained or self-taught, and played only a limited role in cases of medicolegal significance.
1940s - 1960s
From the 1940s to the 1960s, the field moved into what is now known as the consolidation period. Attention from medicolegal and military agencies increased as they began recognizing the utility of forensic anthropology in the identification of deceased service members from WWII and the Korean War.
1970s - 1980s
The Professionalization period of forensic anthropology spans from the 1970s-1980s. This period is characterized by an increase in professional forensic anthropology training, research, and practice.
1990s - Today
The Standardization period spans from the 1990s through the present. This era is characterized by the establishment of forensic anthropology as its own discipline and the broadening of the scope of forensic anthropological work through standardization (Sledzik et al. 2007; Passalacqua & Fenton 2012).
If you have additional people and/or events that have shaped the field of forensic anthropology or recommended edits to the current timeline, please SUBMIT HERE.
Inclusionary criteria for universities listed on this map include: an employed active ABFA diplomates, Forensic Anthropology courses, and a graduate program. If there are programs that meet these criteria, are not included, and you would like them to be added to this map, please contact me.
This section focuses on the history of the American Board of Forensic Anthropology and the associated diplomates. The aim of this section is to give students an idea of the pathways that diplomates have taken to become certified forensic anthropologists in the United States. Data derived from the ABFA Website.