On March 26, experience a holistic glimpse into the investigation surrounding the identity of a woman found inside a Fisk iron coffin that was disturbed by construction crews in New York City. Through forensic investigation with archaeology, biology and history, Archeologist/Anthropologist and Bloomfield resident Scott Warnasch identified the woman as an African American domestic servant who had died of smallpox in the early 1850s.
Warnasch will also tell of two other iron coffin mummies he has discovered in Newark, NJ, and will include background on the coffins and what they teach us about this critical period of American history. A Q&A session will follow the lecture.
Warnasch has been a professional archaeologist for over 25 years, working and teaching archaeological methodology in Europe and the Americas. From 2005 through 2015, he was a member of the New York City Office of Chief Medical Examiner’s (OCME) Forensic Anthropology Unit and was Senior Anthropologist of the OCME’s World Trade Center Operations. During his tenure, his primary duties involved directing the extensive victims’ remains recovery excavations conducted at the World Trade Center site between 2006 and 2014. He also conducted and supervised several crime scene recoveries and mass fatality incidents within the five boroughs. Since leaving the OCME in 2015, Warnasch has become a consultant and is dedicating most of his time to writing his first book, American Mummies: The Industrial Birth of the Eternal Dead, about his research into the lives of three mid-19th century iron coffin mummies he has discovered, including the subject of the PBS series Secrets of the Dead episode, “The Woman in the Iron Coffin.”
Warnasch, a 20-year resident of Bloomfield, is a graduate of William Paterson University and Hunter College, and is a Weird New Jersey magazine contributor.
The event is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.