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Department of Anthropology


Sharon DeWitte

Title: Professor
Department: Anthropology
College of Arts and Sciences
Phone: 803-777-6940
Office: Gambrell Hall, 410
Resources: Curriculum Vitae [pdf]
My Website
Dr. Sharon DeWitte

Dr. DeWitte will not be considering applications for Fall 2023 from graduate students wishing to work with her.


Dr. DeWitte is a Professor at the University of South Carolina. She earned her PhD in anthropology, with a focus on biological anthropology, at the Pennsylvania State University in 2006. She came to USC in 2011 after having been an Assistant Professor of Anthropology and a member of the Human Biology Program at the University at Albany, SUNY.


ANTH 204 Plagues Past and Present

ANTH 561 Human Osteology

ANTH 761 Bioarchaeological Principles

ANTH 762 Biological Anthropology Principles and Theory

BIOL 243 Human Anatomy and Physiology I

BIOL 244 Human Anatomy and Physiology II


Dr. DeWitte is a biological anthropologist with research specialties in bioarchaeology, paleoepidemiology, and paleodemography. She engages in the reconstruction of life, health, disease, and demography in the past using assemblages of human skeletal remains. Her research examines the biological, environmental, economic, and social factors that affect and interact with variation in health and mortality; the ecology, epidemiology, and consequences of diseases in past human populations; and the co-evolution of humans and pathogens. She applies hazard modeling to address issues of heterogeneous frailty and selective mortality in past populations, and has examined risks of mortality during the medieval Black Death, in post-Conquest Roman Britain, in medieval monastic communities, and in Industrial-era London. Her research has primarily focused on uncovering variation in health and demography before and after the medieval Black Death and risks of mortality during the epidemic.  

Recent Publications

DeWitte SN, and Betsinger TK. 2021. Toward a bioarchaeology of urbanization. Yearbook of Physical Anthropology 

DeWitte SN, and Lewis M. 2021. Medieval menarche: Changes in pubertal timing before and after the Black Death. American Journal of Human Biology 33:e23439.

Betsinger TK, and DeWitte SN (Eds). 2020. The Bioarchaeology of Urbanization: The Biological, Demographic, and Social Consequences of Living in Cities. New York, NY: Springer
DeWitte SN, and Yaussy SL. 2020. Sex differences in adult famine mortality in medieval London. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 171:164-169.

van Schaik KD, and DeWitte SN. 2020. Covid-19 and the Black Death: Nutrition, frailty, inequity, and mortality. Journal of Health and Social Sciences 5:471-484.

Walter B, DeWitte S, Dupras T, and Beaumont J. 2020. Assessment of nutritional stress in famine burials using stable isotope analysis. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 172:214-226.

DeWitte SN, and Yaussy SL. 2019. Sex differences in famine mortality in medieval London. American Journal of Physical Anthropology.

Redfern R, DeWitte S, Beaumont J, Millard A, and Hamlin C. 2019. A new method for investigating the relationship between diet and mortality: hazard analysis using dietary isotopes. Annals of Human Biology doi: 10.1080/03014460.2019.1662484

DeWitte SN. 2018. Stress, sex, and plague: patterns of developmental stress and survival in pre- and post-Black Death London. American Journal of Human Biology 30:e23073.

DeWitte SN and Kowaleski M. 2017. Black Death bodies. Fragments 6:1-37.

DeWitte SN. 2016. Archaeological evidence of epidemics can inform future epidemics. Annual Review of Anthropology 45: 63-77.

DeWitte S, Kurth M, Allen C, and Linkov I. 2016. Disease epidemics: lessons for resilience in an increasingly connected world. Journal of Public Health doi:10.1093/pubmed/fdw044.

Yaussy SL, DeWitte SN, and Redfern RC. 2016. Frailty and famine: Patterns of mortality and physiological stress among victims of famine in medieval London. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 160:272-283.

DeWitte SN, Hughes-Morey G, Bekvalac J, and Karsten J. 2016. Wealth, health, and frailty in Industrial-era London. Annals of Human Biology 43:241-54.

DeWitte SN. 2015. Setting the stage for medieval plague: pre-Black Death trends in survival and mortality. American Journal of Physical Anthropology. 158:441-451.

DeWitte SN, and Stojanowski CM. 2015. The Osteological Paradox twenty years later: past perspectives, future directions. Journal of Archaeological Research 23:397-450.

DeWitte SN. 2014. Health in post-Black Death London (1350-1538): Age patterns of periosteal new bone formation in a post-epidemic population. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 155:260-267.

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Recent Accomplishments 

American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellow (American Association for the Advancement of Science), 2021

National Science Foundation: "Paleodemographic and ancient DNA study of a potential epidemic site." Co-PI, with Qian Wang, 2021-2025

National Science Foundation: “Host immunological characteristics and disease experience in past human populations.” Co-PI, with PI Molly Zuckerman and Co-PI Fabian Crespo, 2020-2023

National Science Foundation: "SBE-RCUK: Diet, Migration, and Health in the Context of Medieval Mortality Crises." PI, with Julia Beaumont and Janet Montgomery (BCS-1722491), 2017-2020

The Wenner-Gren Foundation Post-PhD Research Grant: “Diet and Health in the Context of Medieval Mortality Crises.” PI (#9229). 2016-2018


Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.