‘Digging for the Truth’ workshop to be offered at WCU

A workshop designed for law enforcement and medico-legal personnel, “Death, Decomposition and Digging for the Truth,” will be offered on the Western Carolina University campus Wednesday and Thursday, April 1-2.

Topics to be addressed include an overview of the field of forensic anthropology; distinguishing human bones from non-human bones; how skeletal remains can provide estimations of age, sex, stature and ancestry; the role of anthropologists in human remains recovery; and case studies.

Participants will learn how forensic anthropologists can help investigations, the types of investigations that benefit from the assistance of forensic anthropologists, and how to find qualified forensic anthropologists. Attendees will be exposed to human remains in various states of decomposition in a human decomposition research facility. Participants are invited to bring a bone to the course for identification or to set up a consultation with a board-certified forensic anthropologist.

Cheryl Johnston, WCU associate professor of forensic anthropology, will lead the workshop. Johnston is a board certified forensic anthropologist and a fellow of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences. A native of Asheville, she earned her doctoral degree at the Ohio State University in 2002 and joined the WCU faculty in 2005.

Johnston directs WCU Forensic Osteology Research Station, one of only a few outdoor decomposition facilities in the world.

Class will be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. Cost of the class is $249, which includes course materials, two lunches and one dinner. Space is limited to 35 participants. Fourteen hours of continuing education credits are available upon request.

For more information or to register for the workshop, visit pdp.wcu.edu or call 828-227-7397.