Research in the Osteology Department

For over 100 years, the Osteology Collections at the Peabody Museum have been an important resource for research by scholars within Harvard and from around the world. We host an average of 40 visiting researchers a year, who usually spend a combined total of 150 researcher days in the Osteology lab. 

Researcher Access to the Collections

Department Projects

From the craniometric studies of W.W. Howells to contemporary Micro-CT analysis, the Peabody Osteology department has participated in some of the most groundbreaking work in the field of Biological Anthropology. Current Peabody Museum osteology projects include staff and student research; special curation of collections, often in collaboration with the Conservation Department; student internships; and senior theses projects.

Osteology department staff members are trained in Micro-CT and XRF data collection and analysis; these non-invasive techniques are being used to create digital records, increase research possibilities, and assess curation and material treatments.

Skhul V

Skhul V is among the most significant fossils for the study of human evolution. Currently dated between 80,000 and 100,000 years before present, this fossil represents one of the oldest known, nearly complete members of our species, Homo sapiens. Download the Skhul V CT scans here.

Research Access

Because of heavy researcher demand and the limited amount of space, it is best to submit a research proposal several months in advance of your intended visit.

To see if the Peabody curates collections relevant to your research interests, use our Guide to the Osteology Collections Online.

Access to the Peabody Museum Osteological collections is coordinated by the Osteology staff. Please review the Osteology research proposal guidelines before submitting an inquiry request form. You may also submit your research proposal to

Requests for Analytical Sampling must be approved by Museum staff and faculty. The committee meets monthly to review requests.

Quick Links

Fossil casts and non-human primates

With the exception of the Liberian chimp collection, most non-human primates were transferred to the Harvard Museum of Comparative Zoology's Mammalogy Department in the 1930s. You can browse their database here.

The hominid casts are curated in the Paleoanthropology Laboratory, an affiliate of the Peabody Museum.

W.W. Howells Statistics Lab, ca. 1931–32. Peabody Museum Archives 2008.1.274