Department of Applied Forensic Sciences
Mercyhurst Archaeological Institute
119 Zurn Hall
Erie, PA 16546
Office Phone: 814/824-3369 Cell: 814/270-9458
Adjunct Faculty Address
Steven A. Symes has recently accepted a faculty position for a new 'Center of Excellence' at Mercyhurst College in Erie, PA. This includes a new Masters program in Physical/Forensic Anthropology and a Bachelors of Science in applied Forensic Sciences. He will continue to consult and lecture nationally and internationally since the college is quite interested in international student participation.
Dr. Symes is also an Adjunct Professor of the Department of Forensic Pathology and the College of Nursing at the College of Health Sciences, The University of Tennessee, Memphis. For the last 16 years he has been the forensic anthropologist for the Medical Examiners office at the Regional Forensic Center for Shelby County, and 21 Western Tennessee Counties. He received his MA and his PhD in Anthropology at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. In 1997, Dr. Symes received the 57th certificate in North America, admitting him as a Diplomate of the American Board of Forensic Anthropology.
Dr. Symes has been involved with hands-on forensic anthropology since 1979 when he was invited on his first forensic case by Dr. William M. Bass, at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. For the next 4 years, Symes became Dr. Bass’ forensic graduate assistant. His interests and research involve human skeletal biology with an emphasis on forensic tool mark and fracture pattern interpretation in bone. His special expertise is in sharp force trauma, i.e., saw and knife marks on bone and cartilage in instances of violent death and dismemberment and mutilation. Other areas of expertise include blunt force, ballistic, burned and healing trauma in bone. Dr. Symes has been invited to lecture, examine, and testify on trauma cases in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Peru, and Europe. Most recently, Dr. Symes has applied his interests in bone trauma and healing by organizing a special multidisciplinary symposium at the American Academy of Forensic Sciences on the history of child abuse recognition.
Other interests include taphonomical influences of recent, historic and prehistoric skeletons, bloodstain pattern analysis, and 35 mm and digital laboratory and crime scene photography.
In addition to teaching, has served as a consultant to pathologists, attorneys, and investigators from numerous states and Canada. As a result of these consultations, he has been qualified as an expert for both the prosecution and defense, in the fields of forensic anthropology and bloodstain pattern analysis, and involved with crime scene photography consults. With a specialty in criminal dismemberment and mutilation, Dr. Symes has worked numerous cases of serial homicides. A notable example would include the Crown vs. Paul Bernardo (Symes 1998), a case of serial abduction and homicide in the Toronto, Ontario area.
A representation publication list is presented below:
Symes, Steven A., John A. Williams, Elizabeth A. Murray, J. Michael
Hoffman, Thomas D. Holland, Julie Saul, Frank Saul , and Elayne J.
Symes, Steven A., Hugh E. Berryman, and O.C. Smith