Bill Bass Began the Body Farm
In 1981, Bill Bass had been head of the Department of Anthropology for 10 years when he built the Anthropology Research Facility—more popularly known as the Body Farm—with his graduate students. Bass’s work revolutionized forensic science—particularly for determining the time since a person’s death—and inspired several television dramas. Bass was named national professor of the year in 1985 by the Council for Support and Advancement of Education. At one time, he had trained about two-thirds of the country’s board-certified forensic anthropologists. In 1987, Bass established the Forensic Anthropology Center to manage the department’s growing expertise which includes professional training, body donations, and the Body Farm. The nation’s largest collection of contemporary human skeletons (housed at UT), the William M. Bass Forensic Anthropology Building, and the atrium of Strong Hall are named for him. Bass retired as professor emeritus in 1997.