Hello, I’m Heather Leonard and this blog chronicles my transformation from secondary education into the world of archaeology and, specifically, funerary and mortuary archaeology. Why “A Bone to Pick?” I thought it would be interesting to keep a record of my adventures changing to the career I “picked” and this blog discusses the challenges and discoveries I will make during this transition. I will be picking over a lot of bones in the next few years!

This transition is not something that will happen overnight. It will take several years of university training and field experiences before I’m able to successfully change careers. I’m in 40’s and have been a high school teacher for many years. While I love my students and job, I just don’t see myself teaching for much longer. I feel like there is something else I’m meant to do and I’m ready for adventures of a different sort.

I finished my BA in Anthropology from Western Illinois University in May 2021 and am in my final year working on a Masters in Archaeological Practice through the University of Highlands and Islands in Scotland by distance. I am based in Austin, Texas. My particular interests are funerary and mortuary archaeology and how they can be applied to artificial intelligence. I’d love to be a professor someday.

What’s amazing about archeology is that it overlaps so many other fields. I absolutely love that! I am truly a lifelong learner and I can never learn enough about anything. Archeology is physically and mentally challenging. It’s a perfect marriage of the hard sciences and the humanities. I’ve had to reteach myself a lot of science and math that I never studied when I was younger, like statistics! Archeology keeps me learning, reading, thinking, analyzing, criticizing, formulating, and a lot of other gerund verbs.

I am also a small-potatoes (like…hashbrowns) published writer and am working on two projects that feature archaeology and forensic anthropology. You can read more about those projects on the “Writing Projects” page.

Join me as I make my way through various anthropology and archaeology classes, attend field schools around the world, and discuss the challenges of changing careers while managing a full-time day job and raising a family.