Anthropology faculty member Andrea Palmiotto attained the highest professional certification through the American Board of Forensic Anthropology. She is one of two American Board of Forensic Anthropology Diplomates currently working in Pennsylvania.

Forensic anthropology is an applied area of biological anthropology that emphasizes the identification and analysis of human skeletal remains. Forensic anthropologists help address medicolegal issues, including processing recovery and crime scenes, establishing the number of individuals present, determining medicolegal significance, creating biological profiles, interpreting trauma and pathological conditions, and assessing taphonomic processes related to the postmortem interval.

The American Board of Forensic Anthropology is the highest certification body for forensic anthropologists, accredited by the Forensic Specialties Accreditation Board, and assesses professional competencies in these tasks through rigorous testing. The ABFA was established in 1977 to serve in the interest of the public and the advancement of science. Since its inception, fewer than 200 professionals have achieved Diplomate status.

Palmiotto using total station at forensic site

Andrea Palmiotto recording data at a forensic recovery site.

Palmiotto currently advises IUP students in forensic anthropology research and leads an international forensic archaeology field school, where she and IUP colleague William Chadwick train students in forensic archaeology methods while recovering American aircraft crash sites from WWII. This summer, they will bring 10 students near Frankfurt, Germany, to recover a B-17 aircraft crash site.

Additionally, she collaborates with other forensic anthropologists across the United States on various research projects. She also serves as a technical assessor for the ANSI-ASQ National Accreditation Board and has assessed national and international forensic anthropology laboratories. Prior to joining IUP, she worked with the Department of Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency in the recovery and analysis of missing US service members from past conflicts, analyzing more than 400 sets of skeletal remains and performing forensic archaeology in southeast Asia.

Interested students can contact Professor Palmiotto ( for more information on the IUP Forensic Archaeology field school this summer.

Department of Anthropology