Dr. Anna Osterholtz

Department / Division

  • Bioarchaeologist
  • (she/her)


  • Associate Professor


Email: aosterholtz@anthro.msstate.edu
Phone: 662-325-2013


  • PO Box AR
  • Mississippi State, MS 39762


Ph.D., Anthropology, University of Nevada-Las Vegas

Research Interests

Bioarchaeology, how relationships between the living and the dead are illustrated through the treatment of the dead, commingled and fragmentary assemblage (such as ossuaries or massacre assemblages, applied bioarchaeology, life-history approach, trauma analysis, bioarchaeology of the Bronze Age Mediterranean, identity formation and negotiation, poetics, and migration.

Anna Osterholtz is an Assistant Professor of Bioanthropology with a specialty in Bioarchaeology. Dr. Osterholtz began at MSU in the fall of 2016 and is developing research programs in Cyprus and Croatia. Dr. Osterholtz began working in southwestern bioarchaeology with massacre assemblages and has conducted fieldwork and/or analysis of remains from the US, Cyprus, Jordan, the UAE, Guam, and Romania. Her current research in Cyprus examines the interplay between populations in the Mediterranean during the Bronze Age and the creation of Cypriot identity. She is also engaged examining the social role of violence and how poetics models can be applied to both violence and the treatment of the dead.

She has been active in providing student-centered excavations in Romania and Cyprus over the past several years and plans to continue to provide quality excavation and research experience centered around human remains in the future.

Dr. Osterholtz is currently accepting graduate students interested in bioarchaeology using a biocultural model, the analysis of violence and trauma in the skeleton, and the life history model. Geographical region is open, but students with a focus on Old World bioarchaeology are preferred.

Recent Publications

2017 Anna J. Osterholtz and Debra L. Martin. “The Poetics of Annihilation: On the Presence of Woman and Children at Massacre Sites in the Ancient Southwest.” In Martin and Tegtmeyer (eds.) Bioarchaeology of Women and Children in Times of War. New York: Springer, pp. 111-128.
2016 Debra L. Martin and Anna J. Osterholtz. “Broken bodies and broken bones: Biocultural approaches to ancient slavery and torture.” In Molly K. Zuckerman and Debra L. Martin (eds.) New Directions in Biocultural Anthropology. Hoboken: John Wiley and Sons Inc. pp. 471-490.
2016 Anna J. Osterholtz (ed.) Theoretical approaches to the analysis of Commingled Human Remains. Springer.
2016 Debra Martin and Anna J. Osterholtz. Bodies and Lives: Health in Ancient America. Routledge.
2014 Anna J. Osterholtz, Kathryn M. Baustian, and Debra Martin (eds.) Commingled and Disarticulated Human Remains: Working Toward Improved Theory, Method, and Data. Springer.
2013 Anna J. Osterholtz “Hobbling and Torture as Performative Violence: An Example from the Prehistoric Southwest.” Kiva. 78(2): 123-144.
2013 Anna J. Osterholtz “The Social Role of Hobbling and Torture: Violence in the Prehistoric Southwest.” International Journal of Paleopathology 2(2-3): 148-155.
2013 Kathryn M. Baustian, Ryan P. Harrod, Anna J. Osterholtz, and Debra L. Martin “Battered and Abused: Analysis of Trauma at Grasshopper Pueblo (AD 1275-1400).” International Journal of Paleopathology 2(2-3): 102-111.