Tal Simmons

Tal Simmons, Ph.D.


(804) 573-9971

Harris Hall South, 1015 Floyd Ave., room 3001B

Office hours: Mondays 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m., Wednesdays 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m., and by appointment

Curriculum vitae


  • Ph.D., Anthropology, University of Tennessee (1990)


Prior to arriving at VCU in January 2015, Simmons worked in the U.K. for 11 years, where she was the course Leader for the MSc Forensic Anthropology in the School of Forensic and Investigative Sciences at the University of Central Lancashire (2004-2014) and held the post of Reader in Forensic Anthropology and Archaeology. From 2003 to 2004, she was a senior lecturer at Bournemouth University, where she was also the course leader for the MSc Forensic and Biological Anthropology.  Before moving to England, Simmons taught in the Anthropology Department of Western Michigan University for 12 years. Previously, she held a postdoctoral fellowship and lectureship in the Cell, Molecular and Structural Biology Department at Northwestern University Medical and Dental Schools.  She has held various fellowships at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in the Institute for Advanced Studies, The Department of Ecology, Evolution and Systematics, and in the Institute of Archaeology.

While on leave from her full time academic appointments, Simmons worked in the field for the non-government organization Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) as director of the Forensic Monitoring Project in Tuzla, Bosnia. She also served as the senior forensic consultant for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe in Pristina and Orahovac, Kosovo.  She worked as the laboratory director for PHR’s Cyprus Project and again as a consultant for PHR.

At VCU, Simmons is helping to direct the skeletal and DNA analysis concerning the East Marshall Street Well Project according to guidelines agreed by the Family Representative Council. Simmons is currently a forensic anthropology consultant, undertaking casework for the OCME in the Central and Tidewater districts of Virginia as well as for various international human rights NGOs. She has provided expert testimony in courts in both the U.S. and the U.K. and provided independent expert testimony to the Inter-American Court on Human Rights concerning the massacres at El Mozote, El Salvador.  She is a Diplomat of the American Board of Forensic Anthropology and is accredited as a Chartered Forensic Anthropologist in the U.K.  She is a Fellow of the Anthropology section of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS) and of the Royal Anthropological Institute.

Research Interests

  • Forensic Anthropology
  • Human Identification
  • International Humanitarian Law
  • Forensic Taphonomy and Postmortem Interval Estimation
  • Trauma Analysis

Select Publications



  • FRSC 300: Survey of Forensic Science
  • FRSC 309: Scientific Crime Scene Investigation
  • FRSC 490: Professional Practice
  • FRSC 515: Forensic Anthropology Applications