SEYMOUR – A renowned forensics expert will explain the world of graveyard forensics at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 17 at Seymour Public Library.
Boyds Creek native Arthur Bohanan, an internationally award-winning inventor, researcher, lecturer and writer in the field of forensics, was the senior forensic examiner for 26 years with the Knoxville Police Department. As well as working on thousands of crime scenes, he's done research with the FBI, Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the University of Tennessee's body farm. He's been on the response team to many large-scale disasters, including the World Trade Center in 2001.
Now retired, he's already developed a device that, held over a gravesite, can determine within seconds the gender of a cadaver and whether it is an adult or child. Recently he used the device to verify that Nancy Ward, Beloved Woman of the Cherokee Nation who acted as liaison between her people and the settlers, had indeed been transferred from her original resting place to another gravesite.
The invention is part of "ongoing research," Bohanan said. He expects it will soon be able to identify race as well as age and gender. The research database includes buried human ashes and graves as much as 2,000 years old.
Bohanan will describe his work in locating grave sites, including research at the Wheatlands' slave cemetery on Boyds Creek Road. In addition, he'll describe simple methods to read the inscriptions on old grave stones. He'll discuss cemetery washouts and rates of decay. His presentation will show human remains and is not appropriate for young children, he said. The remains will be shown in a respectful manner such as when shown on TV.
"I am really looking forward to this program," said Friends of Seymour Library President Lucy Henighan. "We are fortunate to have Art Bohanan to teach us about this technology. This is how we will learn about our history."
Questions from the audience are welcome, Bohanan said. His biography, "Prints of a Man," and other works will be on sale.
The April 17 program is free and open to the public. It is part of the “How We Live: Then and Now” series sponsored by Friends of Seymour Library. The series explores the people and culture of East Tennessee and is offered on the third Tuesday of every other month. The library is at 137 West Macon Lane, Seymour, at the west end of the Kroger shopping complex.
For more information, please call the library at 865-573-0728 or Alice Dickinson at 865-300-7922.