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. 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
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/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
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.). Ritual landscapes of the Caves Branch River Valley. Research Reports in Belizean Archaeology.
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.). Maya mortuary landscapes, Central Belize. In Antiquity. Antiquity Publications.
Michael, A. (n.d.). Social identity and geographic origin of Maya burials ￼at Actun Uayazba Kab, Roaring Creek Valley, Belize. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology.