Douglas Owsley: Helping Make History More Interesting :)

Douglas Owsley is a physical anthropologist at the Smithsonian institution. His job is analyzing human remains to identify them and help determine cause of death. In his career, he was brought in to identify 9/11 victims, help convict Jeffrey Dahmer of murder of a young man, and helped identify bodies after the Waco siege among others. He didn’t just work on modern cases,

The research and analysis that Owsley has completed throughout his career has done much more than assess modern human remains. He has been involved in the excavation and identification of historic and prehistoric skeletal remains discovered around the world. As part of his work with the Smithsonian, he has overseen the forensic examination of over 13,000 skeletons and human remains originating from over an estimated 10,000 years. The 1996 discovery of skeletal remains found in Kennewick, Washington along the Columbia River, uncovered a prehistoric (Paleo-Indian) man dating back to a calibrated age of 9,800 years, while analysis on the Spirit Cave mummy, established an age of over 10,650 years. (Wikipedia)

He also worked with the Jamestown colony. His work with the Jamestown colony found evidence of cannibalism during the staring time in winter. He identified marks on a teenage girl’s bones as being made by humans butchering her. He went more in depth to say that she was luckily, dead when it happened and that two people worked on carving her flesh, one more experienced and one less. He also stated that animals didn’t do it, because the markings would be different. With the Kennewick Man, he determined that he looked more Caucasian than native American. Also, he actually sued the national government with a team of scientists after the Kennewick Man was to be reclaimed by a native American tribe. The Kennewick man was valuable to the study of paleolithic inhabitants in North America. Owsley was listed in the “35 Who Made a Difference” in the Smithsonian Magazine.

Recovery and Analysis of Jamestown Rediscovery South Churchyard Burials from the 1999 Field Season


About History Is Interesting

I like ancient and medieval history!
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