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John A. Williams Documented Human Skeletal Collection

The John A. Williams Documented Human Skeletal Collection (JAW Collection, for short), was founded by Dr. John A. Williams in 2005 as part of the willed body donation program to WCU's Forensic Anthropology Program through its human decomposition facility, the Forensic Osteology Research Station (FOREST).

The JAW Collection is one of only a handful of documented willed body human skeletal collections in the world. Such collections are an invaluable resource for forensic anthropologists, biological anthropologists, and other scienstists who study human skeletal variations and changes.

As of October 2022, we have 112 skeletonized individuals of known sex and 110 of known age-at-death curated in the John A. Williams Human Skeletal Collection. Adult remains range in age from 27-96 years, with a mean age of 65.4 years and an equal number of males and females. Most individuals reported their social race as White. Additionally, we have 20 sets of donated cremated remains. There are 12 males and 8 females, all of known ages ranging from 31-91 years with a mean age of 68.9 years.  

Additionally, we have 15 sets of donated cremated human remains. There are nine males and six females.

Research and Education using the JAW Collection

The John A. Williams Human Skeletal Collection is available for research from both internal and external researchers. Individuals interested in collecting data from the JAW Collection must complete our research request form, and return it for review to WCU's Director of Forensic Anthropology (Dr. Nicholas V. Passalacqua).

Additionally, the collection is available for educational purposes. Individuals preparing to take certification exam from the American Board of Forensic Anthropology (ABFA), are welcome to visit to study or to prepare mock cases as part of their application packets. Study visits must be arranged in advance through WCU's Director of Forensic Anthropology  (Dr. Nicholas V. Passalacqua).

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