Iron Coffin Mummy on PBS


Scott Warnasch - Forensic Archaeologist, Author, Consultant


Scott Warnasch has been a professional archaeologist for over 25 years.

From 2005 to 2015, he was the primary forensic archaeologist for New York City, spending most of that time leading the New York City Medical Examiner’s office’s human remains recovery operation at the World Trade Center site after 9/11. He was also Senior Anthropologist for the World Trade Center operations and managed the 9/11 victims’ remains repository at Ground Zero for its first year.

In addition, he participated and advised in several crime scene recovery excavations, including FBI mob-related scenes.

Mr. Warnasch was a member of the OCME Mass Fatality Response Team and assisted in several large recovery operations including the Hurricane Sandy recovery effort. During his time at the agency, he was also an instructor at several buried body recovery courses taught in conjunction with New York Police Department and the FBI. His archaeological skills were often called upon to assess human remains to discern if they were historical or modern, and therefore, possibly of forensic significance.

Prior to his work for the City of New York, Mr. Warnasch was involved in numerous archaeological excavations in the US, Italy, Belize, and Ecuador. He has taught excavation methodology at field schools for the British School at Rome, the University of Central Florida, Sonoma State University, and Columbia University.

Mr. Warnasch now runs his own consulting company, S.C. Warnasch LLC. In addition to his field and lab work, he is a frequent guest lecturer on forensic archaeology, mass disasters, the World Trade Center recovery operation, and 19th century American funerary customs. Mr. Warnasch has authored and coauthored academic articles, a textbook chapter, a field operating guide to mass fatality response and recovery, and an encyclopedia entry regarding the World Trade Center recovery operation and mass fatality management.

He is writing a book called American Mummies, which focuses on the three iron coffin mummies, as well as Fisk and Raymond and the role their coffins played in the 19th century.

Mr. Warnasch received his M.A. from Hunter College, NYC, and lives with his wife in New Jersey.

More information to come

In the News

Documentary Viewing at William Paterson University

It was a pleasure to present my research at my undergrad school so many decades later.

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A Brief History of Fisk’s Coffins

Fisk’s iron coffins are fascinating artifacts of a time when the clash between new technology and religious tradition was creating a spiritual crisis in the young country. They’re also a great example of how the unintended effects of one invention can beget new and seemingly unrelated inventions and even new industries. Iron coffins were created […]

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