Christine Lee is a bioarchaeologist who reconstructs the lives of human skeletal populations found in archaeological excavations. She was born in Houston, Texas. Her parents had emigrated from Taiwan. Her childhood was spent reassembling the bones from fried chicken dinners and building Maya pyramids from Lego’s. She studied archaeology, physical anthropology, and museum studies at university. Christine has participated on archaeological excavations in Texas, Italy, Mongolia, and China.
Her research involves reconstructing the lives of ancient people who lived in China and Mongolia. Through the research of people living along the Great Wall and Silk Road she hopes to bring to life these forgotten populations. The modern day people who originated from this region include the modern day Chinese, Mongolians, Koreans, Manchurians, and Uighur. By understanding the dynamics of population formation and change through time, we can discover how they survived periods of warfare, famine, disease, and conquest. Her research is a means to give those who have been forgotten a voice again.
Christine’s work also allows her to travel to remote locations and immerse herself in foreign cultures. She has participated on several crazy road trips through Italy, Mongolia, and China. She has learned to set up a tent in the dark while raining, build a fire in -30 degree weather, cook a goat in a milk can, and climb a small mountain.
This research has enabled her to discover her own ancestral story. Ever since she was a child relatives and strangers commented she did not have a typical Chinese face. After many years of research it turns out her family has not only Chinese ancestors, but at least two other ethnicities. It is possible there were Xianbei family members, who were a nomadic people originating from Manchuria. There were also family members who were possibly from the Paiwan and Atayal indigenous tribes of Taiwan. Ironically the indigenous tribes of Taiwan were traditionally head hunters until the early 20th century. Christine’s specialty is studying skulls.
Finding your own personal geography. Every person is a culmination of their ancestral history, biology, and personal experiences. This makes every single person on earth a unique story.
Learn to be a good listener. It’s easy to look at someone and make assumptions about their background, beliefs, and lifestyle. However this approach is a barrier to communication and understanding. Everyone has the potential to be a fascinating story. When you listen to someone, you validate their voice and experiences. At that moment you are both a part of each others’ lives. This is the first step to building lasting relationships and making your own life more interesting.
Interpreting the past, Chinese and Mongolian culture, cross-cultural sensitivity, finding your personal geography, authentic regional Chinese food, planning crazy road trips
I can identify antique jewelry and textiles. I am a perfumista. I am a good cook.
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