Douglas W. Owsley
Douglas W. Owsley, Ph.D. (born July 21, 1951) is the Division Head of Physical Anthropology at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History (NMNH). He is one of the most prominent and influential archaeologists and forensic anthropologists in the world. In September 2001, he provided scientific analysis at the military mortuary located at Dover Air Force Base, following the 9/11 attack in Washington D.C. The following year, the US Department of Defense honored him with the Commander's Award for Civilian Service for helping in the identification of 60 federal and civilian victims who died when American Airlines Flight 77 hit the Pentagon.As a forensic anthropologist, Owsley has consulted with individuals, organizations, and government agencies to excavate and reconstruct skeletal remains, identify the deceased, and determine the cause of death. Notable cases include analysis and identification of Jeffrey Dahmer's first victim; excavation and study of the H. L. Hunley Confederate submarine in Charleston Harbor; excavation of the historic Jamestown Colony; analysis and identification of 82 victims of the siege at the Branch Davidian compound near Waco, Texas; processing and identification of US servicemen killed during Operation Desert Storm; and research, analysis, and identification of individuals buried in 17th-century iron coffins discovered in the Chesapeake Bay area of Maryland and an apartment complex in the Columbia Heights area of Washington, D.C.The research and analysis that Owsley has completed throughout his career has done much more than assess modern human remains. Controversially, he injected himself into the debate over claims of ownership over Kennewick Man a (Paleo-Indian), which he studied and concluded, erroneously, that its bones were not related to present-day Native Americans. He has been involved in the excavation and identification of historic and prehistoric skeletal remains discovered around the world. As part of his work with the Smithsonian, he has overseen the forensic examination of over 13,000 skeletons and human remains originating from over an estimated 10,000 years. The 1996 discovery of skeletal remains found in Kennewick, Washington along the Columbia River, uncovered a prehistoric (Paleo-Indian) man dating back to a calibrated age of 9,800 years, while analysis on the Spirit Cave mummy, established an age of over 10,650 years.In 2003, Owsley's biography, No Bone Unturned: Inside the World of a Top Forensic Scientist and His Work on America's Most Notorious Crimes and Disasters, was published by HarperCollins, which served as the basis of a Discovery Channel documentary, entitled Skeleton Clues, as well as an ABC News 20/20 segment entitled Murders, Mysteries, History Revealed in Bones. He was also featured in the film Nightmare in Jamestown, produced by National Geographic. In 2005, Owsley was honored alongside other influential figures in the list of ""35 Who Made a Difference"", published in the November issue of the Smithsonian Magazine.