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Photo of Jennifer Bengtson

Dr. Jennifer Bengtson, Ph.D.

Associate Professor
History and Anthropology

Office: Pacific Hall 303

Ph.D. in Anthropology, Michigan State University 
M.A. in Anthropology, Michigan State University 
B.A. in Anthropology, Minnesota State University-Moorhead

My research focuses on the intersection of archaeology and biological anthropology. I am particularly interested in inter-and intra-community variation in experiences of gender and childhood in Mississippian societies. My dissertation approached such issues from skeletal and mortuary perspectives, but I have recently focused more specifically on ceramic manufacture, decoration, and exchange as a means of studying identity in the past. I have done field work in the North Dakota, the Central Illinois River Valley, and Southeast Missouri.

I also do research and teach courses in forensic anthropology-- the application of the techniques and methods of biological anthropology to questions of medicolegal significance. I am excited about my work with Southeast forensic chemist Dr. Jim McGill to develop new research projects that facilitate collaboration between anthropology and chemistry students. My students and I are also heavily involved in forensic anthropology casework, in particular working with Othram Inc. to resolve decades old cases involving unidentified human skeletal remains. You can read about one of our recent cases here

I regularly consult with local and regional law enforcement on cases involving human skeletal remains. I also provide guidance on cultural resource management issues in Southeast Missouri in cooperation with the State Historic Preservation Office.

Academic Interests:

  • Mississippian Archaeology
  • Oneota Archaeology
  • Mortuary analysis
  • Bioarchaeology
  • Ceramic analysis
  • Anthropology of gender
  • Anthropology of childhood
  • Forensic Anthropology


Personal Interests:

  • Running
  • Camping
  • Cooking and eating vegan food
  • Friends and family
  • Dogs and cats


(573) 651-2478
Caranahan Hall 311E

Department of History and Anthropology
One University Plaza, MS2960
Cape Girardeau, Missouri 63701