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Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
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At a Glance

The Secret in the Cellar - a webcomic based on an authentic forensic case.

School programs are available in the Forensic Lab Oct.-May.

The Lab also has open hours for families, individuals or small groups.

Through forensic studies of bones, scientists use the tools and technology of the 21st-century to shed light on the people, places, and stories of the past. The exhibition will examine history through 17th-century bone biographies, including those of colonists teetering on the edge of survival at Jamestown, Virginia, and those of wealthy and well-established individuals of St. Mary’s City, Maryland. At no other time in our history have we had the technological capability or opportunity now available to help us tell this tale.

**Update: The Forensic Anthropology Lab is permanently CLOSED as of July 31, 2013.

The Forensic Anthropology Lab was part of the temporary exhibition Written in Bone.

The Forensic Anthropology Lab closed July 31, 2013, but forensic anthropology school programs will be offered in the new Q?rius education space beginning in October 2013. Learn more about the Forensic Mysteries school program and other Natural History Investigations.

Please call 202-633-1078 with additional questions about programs or logistics.

Expand Your Experience:

For the Classroom

The Secret in the Cellar

This webcomic is based on an authentic forensic case of a recently discovered 17th Century body. Using graphics, photos, and online activities, the Webcomic unravels a mystery of historical, and scientific importance. Online sleuths can analyze artifacts and examine the skeleton for the tell-tale forensic clues that bring the deceased to life and establish the cause of death.

Educator’s Manual for Written In Bone, Forensic Files of the 17th-Century

This educator’s manual is intended as a companion to the Written in Bone exhibition. The guide offers activities for grade levels 5-6, 7-8 and 9-12, provides several primary sources for discussion and additional resources to enrich the classroom and/or field trip experience. Activities will allow teachers to connect concepts from the exhibition with a variety of curriculum areas including geography, history, social studies, and science and technology.

Lesson Plans

Prepare your students for a field trip or enrich your classroom curriculum with lesson plans developed by Anthropologists and Anthropology Educators. Topics range from population genetics and ways to date objects to studying human cultures through churches and community festivals.

Anthropology Explored: an Instructors' Guide

Expand your professional knowledge of Anthropology with Anthropology Explored, a collection of 36 essays written in a light and easy-to-read style by some of the world’s leading anthropologists. The chapters trace the emergence of humans, describe archaeologists’ understanding of early settlements, and explore the diversity of past and present cultures.

Project Archaeology

The Department of Anthropology recently became one of 21 regional offices for Project Archaeology, a nationally recognized archaeology education program. Project Archaeology trains educators, produces curriculum, and provides mentoring between professional archaeologists and educators.

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