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February 28, 2013

Forensic anthropologist Mary Manhein visits ULM for Women's History Month

At 7 p.m., on Thursday, March 7, forensic anthropologist Mary Manhein will speak at the University of Louisiana at Monroe in celebration of Women's History Month.

Her presentation, titled "Forensic Anthropology in the 21st Century, Myths, Miracles, and Reality," will be held in the University Conference Center, located on the seventh floor of the ULM Library.

The event is free and open to the public.

Author of "The Bone Lady," "Trail of Bones," and – most recently – "Floating Souls: The Canal Murders," Manhein studies topics such as human facial tissue depth, skeletal aging techniques, time since death, discarded bodies, and victims whose bodies lingered in the Mississippi River.

All books will be available for purchase and signing after the presentation.

When asked about the significance of her success for women in forensic anthropology, Manhein said, "Women are very interested in our field. What was once a male-dominated field is becoming dominated by women—why? Some people suggest that it is due partly to women realizing they can do this kind of work; others suggest it is because we have the ability to multi-task."

As laboratory director of the Louisiana State University Forensic Anthropology and Computer Enhancement Services (FACES), Manhein is responsible for a database of both missing and unidentified persons in Louisiana – the most comprehensive state database of its kind in the United States, allowing for a significant margin of success in the solving of cold cases.

"We impact society by helping families to go on with their lives when we find their loved ones and send them home," said Manhein.

"We can do nothing to ease their pain, but we can afford some relief for them in helping to find their missing loved ones."

In 2012, Manhein directed the LSU FACES Laboratory through completing facial reconstructions on two sailors who were recovered from the Civil War ship USS Monitor, which sank in 1862 off the coast of North Carolina.

She and her team are currently analyzing human skeletal remains from the St. Peter Street Cemetery in New Orleans.

Dating from the early 1700s, St. Peter's is the oldest formal cemetery in New Orleans.

For more information on Manhein's lecture, contact the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs at 318-342-5215, or email Dr. Wayne Brumfield at

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