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James Robert Sackett

James Robert Sackett Obituary
February 1, 1933 - December 21, 2019 Prof. James R. Sackett, 86, died peacefully at home after a long illness on December 21, 2019. Born to Margaret and DeForest Sackett on February 1, 1933, he grew up in the Midwest and earned his bachelor's degree at Lawrence College and his doctorate in archaeology at Harvard University. An expert in the Ice Age cultures of Europe, he brought his family to Los Angeles in 1962 to accept a professorship in the Department of Anthropology at UCLA and later in the UCLA Cotsen Institute of Archaeology. At the time of his passing he held emeritus professorships in both institutions. Jim Sackett taught generations of archaeology and anthropology students, bringing many to work summer seasons at his large archaeological site of Solvieux in the beautiful Perigord region of France. An acknowledged expert in the history and theory of archaeology and the tools of our Stone Age ancestors, Jim was particularly interested in the archaeological problem of style, how artifacts could be used to identify the societies and cultures of the past. He wrote numerous articles and several books including the monumental tome The Archaeology of Solvieux. He served as Chair of the UCLA Department of Anthropology and on numerous university committees, and participated in the founding of the UCLA Cotsen Institute of Archaeology. Jim's interests went far beyond academics, touching on 17th Century British history, French popular literature, polar exploration, Baroque music, bagpipes, cycling, Navajo blankets, and the films of Mel Brooks. His favorite gifts both to give and to receive were always books. A consummate story-teller, his family and friends treasure the memory of his mischievous sense of humor.Jim is survived by his loving wife Mary; his sons Ross, James, and Tom and step-son Seth Chase; his daughters-in-law Ruthbeth Finerman, Katalin Sackett, and BJ Cummings; grandchildren Alexandra, Mark, and Maya Sackett and Carlie and Katie Chase; and his former wife Susan. His family expresses its deep gratitude to Dr. William Sim, Abhishek Goel, and M. Gaston Labattut.
Published in the Los Angeles Times from Dec. 27 to Dec. 29, 2019
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