Selfie of Dr. Osterhotlz in her office
May. 10, 2022


Anna Osterholts graduated from UNLV with a Ph.D. in 2015. She is currently an Assistant Professor for the Department of Anthropology at Mississippi State University. Dr. Osterholtz is also a Research Associate at the Cobb Institute of Archaeology in Starkville, MS.


On the Spring of 2021 we reached out to our alumni to ask what they were doing after graduating from UNLV with an Anthropology graduate degree. This was the response:

1.  Where are you now?

I’m currently an Assistant Professor of Biological Anthropology in the Department of Anthropology and Middle Eastern Cultures (AMEC) at Mississippi State University and a senior research associate at the Cobb Institute of Archaeology in Starkville, MS. I’ve been here for six years, teaching and conducting research. I was lucky to find this amazing job straight out of graduate school at UNLV. I teach Introduction to Biological Anthropology, Introduction to Archaeology, Human Osteology, Bioarchaeology, the Anthropology of Death, the Anthropology of Violence, and Death and American Culture Classes. In 2019, I took students to Croatia as part of a Study Abroad Program where they learned Osteology in Zagreb and then assisted in the excavations of a Medieval church in Đurđevac (eastern Croatia). Basically, I’m living the dream: teaching, conducting research, and working with great students and helping them to achieve their goals.
2.  Current research/projects?
Since starting at MSU, I’ve been conducting research in Cyprus as a continuation of my dissertation research into identity formation and population movements during the Bronze Age. I’ve also started new research focused in Croatia on two separate questions. First, I’m interested in how burial within church structures can be examined to understand hierarchy and social structures during the Medieval period. For this, I’ve been working with colleagues at the City Museum of Koprivnica (eastern Croatia) to excavate a church (Đurđevac-Sošice) and the burials within and around it that date to between the 11th and 16th centuries. Second, I’ve been examining female health during the fall of the Roman Empire in the Roman province of Dalmatia at the site of Put Dragulina (Trogir), partnering with the City Museum of Trogir. By analyzing the bodies of individuals who died under a year of age, we can get an idea of female health since all of their nutrition was derived from material sources. I’ve also been working on developing a robust theoretical model centered on Poetics that combines bioarchaeological theory, social anthropological theory, and archaeological theory. I published an edited volume focused on the application of the Poetics model to mortuary processing in 2020 (The Poetics of Processing: Memory Formation, Identity, and the Handling of the Dead, Routledge). I’m hoping to continue to work on developing and publishing this theory over the next couple years.
3.  What do you do for fun and to unwind in these days of COVID?
COVID has taken a toll on everyone. My partner and I did a COVID remodel of our house, and I have rediscovered my craftiness, spending a lot of time cross-stitching and sewing. I haven’t been able to travel for research since 2019, and am really looking forward to getting back to Croatia, visiting friends and getting back to work!