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Department of Anthropology


Carlina Maria de la Cova

Title: Professor
Undergraduate Director
Department: Anthropology
College of Arts and Sciences
Phone: 803-777-2957
Office: Gambrell Hall 409
Resources: Curriculum Vitae [pdf]

Carlina Maria De La Cova

Dr. de la Cova will not be considering applications for Fall 2023 from graduate students wishing to work with her. Please check this space for updates regarding Fall 2024 or contact Dr. de la Cova directly.


A native of Florida, Dr. de la Cova received her Ph.D. in 2008 from Indiana University, Bloomington. Prior to joining the department, de la Cova taught at Indiana University and the University of North Carolina, Greensboro. She became a member of the anthropology department in 2011 and is currently an Associate Professor. Apart from her academic interests, de la Cova is an avid Sherlockian, which is reflected in her ANTH 221 Forensics of Sherlock Holmes course, as well as her induction into the Hounds of Baskerville (sic), a chapter of the prestigious Sherlock Holmes literary society known as the Baker Street Irregulars. She is also a Deputy Coroner for the Richland County Coroner’s Office in Columbia, South Carolina. 


ANTH 161: Human Origins

ANTH 221: The Forensics of Sherlock Holmes

ANTH 263: Medical Experimentation and the Black Body

ANTH 366: Medicine, Disease, and Slavery

ANTH 561: Human Osteology

ANTH 565: Health and Disease in the Past

Graduate Students

Andrea Acosta

Larissa Daniels-Hill

Elizabeth Wakefield 


Dr. de la Cova’s cross-disciplinary work analyzes the biological and skeletal impact of social marginalization, incorporating methods from biological anthropology, history, sociology, cultural anthropology, public health, and medicine. Her research program, which is reflected in her publications, examines skeletal health disparities amongst African American and Euro-American indigents born during the Antebellum (1822-1860), Civil War (1861-1865), and Reconstruction (1866-1877) time periods, focusing on the relationship between race, culture, socioeconomic status, environment, migration, social marginalization and salubrity. Her current projects focus on the biological impact of the Great Migration, institutionalization, and social marginalization, as well as the social origins of anatomical collections and the social stigma of dissection.

Dr. de la Cova’s other projects focus on trauma patterning, the cultural history of dissection, Civil War health, and anthropological thought in the Sherlock Holmes stories.

Representative Publications 

Referred Articles and Chapters:

2021      Mant M, de la Cova C, Brickley MB. Intersectionality and trauma analysis in bioarchaeology. American Journal of Physical Anthropology. 174:583-594. Selected as the Editor’s Choice article for the American Journal of Physical Anthropology April 2021 Issue.

2020     Morgan B, Mant M, de la Cova C, Brickley M. Osteoporosis, Osteomalacia, and Hip Fracture: A Case Study from the Terry Collection. International Journal of Paleopathology. 30:17-21.

de la Cova C. 2019. Marginalized bodies and the construction of the Robert J. Terry anatomical skeletal collection: A promised land lost. In Mant M and Holland A (eds.) Bioarchaeology of Marginalized People. Orlando: Academic Press, pp. 133-155.

Mant ML, de la Cova C, Ives R, Brickley M. 2019. Perimortem fracture manifestations and mortality after hip fracture in a documented skeletal series. International Journal of Paleopathology 27:56-65

Stevens W, de la Cova C, Young C, Judge C. 2018. Skeletal Remains from the School of Anatomy, DeSaussure College, University of South Carolina. In Hodge SC and Shuler KA (eds.) Bioarchaeology of the Southeast: Bridging Bones and Behavior. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, pp. 197-224.

de la Cova C. 2017. Army Healthcare for Sable Soldiers and Contrabands During the American Civil War.  In Tegemeyer C and Martin D (eds.) On the Battlefield of Women and Children's Bodies. New York: Springer Press, pp 129-148.

de la Cova C. 2017. Fractured Lives: Structural Violence, Trauma, and Recidivism in Urban and Institutionalized 19th-century-born African Americans and Euro-Americans. In Tegemeyer C and Martin D (eds.) Broken Bones, Broken Bodies: Bioarchaeological and Forensic Approaches for Accumulative Trauma and Violence. Lanham, Maryland: Lexington Press, pp. 153-180.

de la Cova C. 2017. The Adventure of the Bones of Justice. In Redmond C (ed.) About Being a Sherlockian: 60 Essays Celebrating the Sherlock Holmes Community. Rockville, MD: Wildside Press, pp. 198-201.

de la Cova C. 2016. The Adventure of the Sussex Vampire. In Redmond C (ed.) About Sixty: Why Every Sherlock Holmes Story is the Best. Rockville, MD: Wildside Press, pp. 221-224.

Muller JL, Pearlstein KE, de la Cova C. 2016. Dissection and Documented Skeletal

Collections: Embodiments of Legalized Inequality. In K Nystrom (ed.) The Bioarchaeology of Dissection and Autopsy in the United States. New York: Springer, pp. 185-201.

de la Cova C. 2014. The biological effects of urbanization and in-migration on 19th-century-born African Americans and Euro-Americans of low socioeconomic status: An anthropological and historical approach. In MK Zuckerman (ed.) Are Modern Environments Bad for Human Health? Revisiting the Second Epidemiological Transition. Malden: Wiley-Blackwell, pp. 243-266.

de la Cova C. 2012. Trauma Patterns in 19th-Century-Born African American and Euro-American Females. International Journal of Paleopathology 2: 61–68. 

de la Cova C. 2011. Race, health, and disease in 19th-century-born males. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 144: 526–537. 

Recent Accomplishments 

Inducted into the Hounds of the Baskerville (sic) for scholarship on Sherlock Holmes

Michael Mungo Undergraduate Teaching Award

Provost Social Science Grant, “Embodying trauma and disease in 19th-century-born African American and Euro-American females in cadaver collections, $18,848 

Provost Distributed Learning Grant to create an online version of ANTH 367 Basic Forensic Anthropology, $7944 

Collaborator with John Gerdes, Jr., PI, ASPIRE III, 3-D Modeling Service Bureau Grant. Award allowed for the purchase of 3D printers to use for research purposes, $99,993 

Co-PI with Charles Cobb, PI, and Sharon DeWitte, Co-PI, Visiting Scholar Grant, “Building Collaborations in Bioarchaeology and Physical Anthropology,” $7600

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.