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

Scott Warnasch asnj bulletin

Archaeological Society of New Jersey’s Bulletin

I’m excited to announce that my article on the early iron coffin industry has been published in the Archaeological Society of New Jersey’s Bulletin. Please contact me if you would like a copy, or go to to get a copy of the entire journal.  ABSTRACT Fisk’s airtight, metallic burial cases were created in response […]

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Death, Burial and Egypt

image from Fisk developed his coffins at a unique period in early modern history when many traditions were being challenged, fading or replaced. By the early 1800s, American attitudes about death and burial had begun to move away from the puritanical views of the colonial period and the traditional concepts of the body, soul, […]

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New York Times: This Empty Lot Is Worth Millions. It’s Also an African-American Burial Ground.

Article by Kaya Laterman The flier advertising a near-one-acre plot of land for sale in Elmhurst, Queens, looks like a typical real estate listing. The oddly-shaped parcel that abuts the Long Island Rail Road tracks is available for $13.8 million. According to the flier, the lot is a great opportunity to capitalize on the growing demand for residential space […]

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