Amy Michael is a biological anthropologist specializing in the investigation of human tooth and bone microstructure in an effort to answer questions about past and modern bodies. Using the principles of skeletal biology, Michael asks questions about health, pathology and age-at-death to better understand people in the past and present. With training in bioarchaeology, forensic anthropology and historical archaeology, Amy has worked on field projects in the United States, Belize and Albania. She is currently a senior staff member on the Central Belize Archaeological Survey project run through Michigan State University (www.anthropology.msu.edu/cbasproject). On this project, Michael’s role is to excavate and interpret a series of mortuary caves and rockshelters in Central Belize with a focus on addressing questions of social identity through the lens of mortuary variability. Michael is currently collaborating with researchers at Idaho State University, Michigan State University and the Ada County Coroner's Office (Boise, ID) on projects related to the examination of human rib microstructure to answer questions about age-at-death estimation in forensic cases, as well as the effects of opioid abuse on the accuracy of age-at-death estimations. Aside from a methods-based approach to forensic anthropology research, Michael is passionate about bringing a social justice perspective to her work on forensic cold cases. Michael spent six years working for the Michigan State University Campus Archaeology Program (campusarch.msu.edu) so she is also interested in historic archaeology and gendered landscapes of the past.
Ph.D., Anthropology, Michigan State University
M.A., Anthropology, Michigan State University
B.A., Anthropology, University of Iowa
Bone and tooth histology
Dental Health & Hygiene
Effects of drugs and alcohol on skeletal microstructure
Skull-photo superimposition and image comparison
ANTH 415: Human Evolution, Fossils & DNA
ANTH 550: Intro to Forensic Anth
ANTH 697: Spc Top/Cold Cases
ANTH 699: Senior Thesis
ANTH 699H: Honors Senior Thesis
INCO 590: Rsrch Exp/Anthropology
Michael, A., Wrobel, G., & Biggs, J. (2018). Understanding Late Classic Maya mortuary ritual in caves: ￼dental evidence of health from macro- and microscopic defects and caries.. In Bioarchaeology of Pre-￼￼Columbian Mesoamerica.
Michael, A. R., & Bengtson, J. D. (2016). Chronic alcoholism and bone remodeling processes: Caveats and considerations for the forensic anthropologist. Journal of Forensic and Legal Medicine, 38, 87-92. doi:10.1016/j.jflm.2015.11.022
Michael, A. (n.d.). The current state of research on ￼ancient Maya rockshelter use in Central Belize. Research Reports in Belizean Archaeology.
Michael, A. (n.d.). Histological estimation of age at death in amputated lower limbs: Issues of disuse, advanced age, and disease in the analysis of pathological bone. Journal of Forensic and Legal Medicine.
Michael, A. (n.d.). Histological Analysis of Dentition in Rockshelter Burials from Two Sites in Central Belize.
Michael, A. (n.d.). Human identification using skull-photo superimposition and forensic image comparison. In A Companion to Forensic Anthropology.
Michael, A. (n.d.). The first five years of the Central ￼Belize Archaeological Survey – political and economic development. Research Reports in Belizean Archaeology.
Michael, A. (n.d.). Social identity and geographic origin of Maya burials ￼at Actun Uayazba Kab, Roaring Creek Valley, Belize. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology.
Michael, A. (n.d.). Maya mortuary landscapes, Central Belize. In Antiquity. Antiquity Publications.
Michael, A. (n.d.). Ritual landscapes of the Caves Branch River Valley. Research Reports in Belizean Archaeology.