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James Edward Anderson was born in Perth, Ontario 23 February 1926. In 1953, he received his MD from the University of Toronto and was appointed a lecturer in Anatomy there in 1956. Anderson’s interest in archaeology and participation on dig sites lead to his involvement with the Department of Anthropology, where he became a full professor in 1961. He trained human osteologists and physical anthropologists at the University of Toronto and the State University of New York (SUNY) between 1963-66. In 1967, he became Chair and professor of the Department of Anthropology at McMaster University in the new School of Medicine, the Department would later become part of the Faculty of Social Sciences. As a result of health complications, he took early retirement in 1985, and passed away February 4th, 1995.
Anderson is known for his portable anatomy handbook for archaeologists, The Human Skeleton. As well as helping to illustrate the wealth of information available to archaeologists from careful examination of skeletal remains.