Sharon DeWitte Headshot
(PhD • Pennsylvania State University • 2006)

Hale 135

Office Hours

1-2 pm T/TH, in person

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.  


  • 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.

See more at:

*Professor DeWitte is not currently accepting Ph.D. applicants​ for Fall 2024