Amy Michael

Phone: () 862-1864
Office: UNH Anthropology, Huddleston Hall, Durham, NH 03824
headshot of Amy Michael

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 ( 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. She is the main Anthropology Consultant for the Trans Doe Task Force, a grassroots organization led by forensic genealogists, which works to identify transgender and non-binary decedents in forensic cases.


  • Ph.D., Anthropology, Michigan State University
  • M.A., Anthropology, Michigan State University
  • B.A., Anthropology, University of Iowa

Research Interests

  • Anthropology
  • Archaeology
  • Bone and tooth histology
  • Dental anthropology
  • Dental Health & Hygiene
  • Effects of drugs and alcohol on skeletal microstructure
  • Forensic anthropology
  • Forensic Science
  • Maya bioarchaeology
  • Microscopy
  • Pathology
  • Skeletal Diseases
  • Skeletal trauma
  • Skull-photo superimposition and image comparison

Courses Taught

  • ANTH 415: Human Evolution, Fossils & DNA
  • ANTH 550: Intro to Forensic Anth
  • ANTH 697: Spc Top/Bioarcheology
  • ANTH 699: Senior Thesis
  • ANTH 699H: Honors Senior Thesis
  • ANTH 700: Internship
  • INCO 590: Rsrch Exp/Anthropology
  • INCO 790: Adv Rsrch Exp/Anthropology
  • JUST 701: Sem/Legal Issues Forensic Anth

Selected Publications

Blatt, S., & Michael, A. (2020). Bridging the gap in identification: Sella turcica bridging as a potential positive identification factor. Forensic Imaging, 21, 200384. doi:10.1016/j.fri.2020.200384

Blatt, S., Petersen, K., & Michael, A. (2020). Estimating Age of Mature Adults from Degeneration of the Medial End of the Clavicle in an African American Sample. Forensic Anthropology, 3(1), 39-49. doi:10.5744/fa.2020.1005

A. O’Gorman, J., Bengtson, J. D., & Michael, A. R. (2020). Ancient history and new beginnings: necrogeography and migration in the North American midcontinent. World Archaeology, 52(1), 16-34. doi:10.1080/00438243.2019.1736138

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.). 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.). The current state of research on ancient Maya rockshelter use in Central Belize. Research Reports in Belizean Archaeology.

Most Cited Publications