Sharon N. DeWitte
Office: Arts & Sciences Building, Room 107
Ph: (518) 442-4715
Ph.D., The Pennsylvania State University, 2006
Interests: Paleodemography; Paleopathology
Sharon N DeWitte (Ph.D., The Pennsylvania State University, 2006) is a biological anthropologist with interests in human osteology, paleodemography, paleopathology, and infectious and epidemic diseases. She is currently studying the mortality patterns of the Black Death of 1347-1351 using large skeletal samples from England and Denmark. Dr. DeWitte is particularly interested in how age, sex, and health status affect an individual’s risk of death during epidemics as devastating as the Black Death, and how and why those risks change over time. She is also interested in applying new methods of paleodemographic age-at-death estimation and multi-state models of disease and death which were developed to solve some of the fundamental problems in paleodemography such as age mimicry, selective mortality, and hidden heterogeneity in frailty.
Selected Publications since 2000
DeWitte, SN. The effect of sex on risk of mortality during the Black Death in London, A.D. 1349-1350. /American Journal of Physical Anthropology. /(In press).
2008 DeWitte SN and JW Wood Selectivity of Black Death mortality with respect to preexisting health. /PNAS USA/ 105:1436-1441.
2007 Review of Chamberlain D (2006) Demography in Archaeology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. American Journal of Physical Anthropology accepted, publication date pending
2003 Wood JW, RJ Ferrell, and SN DeWitte-Aviña. The temporal dynamics of the fourteenth century Black Death: New evidence from English ecclesiastical records. Human Biology
2003 Wood JW and SN DeWitte-Aviña. Was the Black Death yersinial plague? The Lancet Infectious Disease 3:327-328.
2006 DeWitte, SN The Paleodemography of the Black Death 1347-1351. Dissertation. The
Pennsylvania State University, University Park.
Presentations at Professional Meetings:
2007 DeWitte SN. Age and Sex Patterns of Black Death Mortality: Estimates from the East
Smithfield Cemetery. Poster presented at the 72nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Austin, TX.
2007 DeWitte SN. Black Death Mortality: Selectivity with Respect to Frailty. American Journal of Physical Anthropology Supplement 44:97.
2004 Sparks CS and SN DeWitte-Aviña. Population dynamics under catastrophic mortality: the case of the Black Death. American Journal of Human Biology 16:187.
2002 Wood JW, RJ Ferrell, SN DeWitte-Aviña. The role of infectious diseases in human populations: New evidence from the Black Death in England, 1348-1350. American
Journal of Physical Anthropology Supplement. 34:167.
2002 Wood JW, RJ Ferrell, SN DeWitte-Aviña, DJ Holman. Mortality differentials during the Black Death in England, 1349. American Journal of Human Biology 14:95.