CSI Knoxville: A Look at the Body Farm

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Fans of crime lab TV shows such as CSI and Bones might be impressed to know they have foundations in research done at the Body Farm in Knoxville.

The facility’s real name is the Forensic Anthropology Center at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, but locals refer to it simply as the Body Farm. (That’s also the title of Patricia Cornwell’s 1994 novel about the facility.) On the 3-acre tract of land, students and UT anthropologists study the decomposition of human bodies in different environmental conditions.

At any given time on the farm, about 40 donated bodies decompose in various conditions. The center’s research helps police and medical examiners pinpoint time and cause of death.

The Body Farm does not offer tours to the public.

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