University News

WIU Senior Completes Remote Archaeological Internship

August 24, 2020

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MACOMB, IL – A Western Illinois University senior anthropology major spent her summer completing a remote internship at the Texas Archaeological Research Laboratory (TARL), in Austin.

Heather Leonard, of Pflugerville, TX, who previously volunteered at TARL, spent her summer processing burial forms from the Ernest Witte site and entering information into TARL's database for collections of human remains.

"Through my internship, I learned in-depth about recording burials, care and curation of human skeletal collections and specialized software, and databases used in osteology and forensic anthropology, such as FORDISC, and NAGPRA," said Leonard.

After being a professional educator and high school reading specialist for more than a decade, Leonard plans to pursue graduate studies in archaeology, with research interests in funerary archaeology, osteology, and Viking burial practices. She is a member of the Travis County Archaeological Society, Texas Archaeological Society and Houston Archaeological Society.

WIU Assistant Professor of Anthropology Andrea Alveshere said she was pleased to see how Leonard's experience built upon the knowledge and skills she developed while taking her Physical Anthropology Methods and Forensic Anthropology courses.

"As a resident of Texas, Heather has been enrolled in our anthropology program as a fully-online student," said Alveshere. "It has been a pleasure to get to know her through these classes and via online correspondence, even though we haven't had the opportunity to meet face-to-face. I look forward to following her accomplishments during her senior year at WIU, in graduate school, and beyond."

For more information about WIU's anthropology program, visit

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