Dr. Levin examines mandible of Sir George Yeardley
In the lab at Jamestown Rediscovery, Dr. Levin examines the mandible of a specimen presumed to be Sir George Yeardley, Lord Governor of Jamestown. An isolation suit was worn to minimize DNA contamination of the specimen. (Photo by Michael Lavin, Jamestown Rediscovery).

The American Association of Endodontists (AAE) published an interview with Dr. Martin D. Levin about his work with archaeologists and scientists in their newsletter published on March 2, 2020. The article was based on an interview with Michael Dobrow, Integrated Communications Specialist at the AAE, “A Different Kind of Case.”

The purpose of the article was to highlight Dr. Levin’s investigations of specimens from Jamestown, the Smithsonian and the Penn Museum. His work, along with a team of anthropologists, archaeologists, other dental specialists, physicians and a broad range of scientists helped to better understand what life was like for the first settlers in early 17th Century Jamestown.

The article also highlighted another project about his work with a team of archeologists at the University of Pennsylvania to help settle the mysteries around whether Chicago’s World’s Fair serial killer H.H. Holmes, the subject of the novel, The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson, was in fact buried in a nearby Philadelphia cemetery.

The University of Pennsylvania department of archeology was engaged by the History Channel to determine if H. H. Holmes was actually the person executed at Moyamensing Prison in Philadelphia in 1896 for the murders he committed.  I was asked to document and compare Holmes’ teeth with photographs of his dental casts in his prison records. We performed a CBCT and laser scan of his mandible and maxilla to segment his teeth and create a virtual model of his dentition, which exactly matched his prison dental records. After the tests were concluded, Holmes’ body was reinterred.