Profile picture of Gyoung-Ah Lee

Gyoung-Ah Lee

Director of Graduate Studies
Anthropology, Asian Studies, Food Studies
Phone: 541-346-5077
Office: 254 Condon Hall
Office Hours: Thur 2-4pm
Research Interests: Environmental archaeology, paleoethnobotany, ethnobotany, origins of agriculture, East Asian archaeology


B.A., Seoul National University (1992); M.S., University of Toronto (1997); Ph.D., University of Toronto (2003)


I am an archaeologist investigating ancient human-environment interactions and cultural niche construction in early East Asia. My work deals primarily with the transition from hunting and gathering to dependence on farming for food, and has been featured in media outlets ranging from scientific journals to NPR. My topical interests include paleoethnobotany, phylogenetics of crops, traditional farming technologies, ideology of food, cultural landscape of early agricultural societies, island archaeology, and quantitative archaeology. While focused in Asia, my research spans the globe, and I have led archaeological projects and participated in excavations in Australia, Canada, China, Indonesia, Korea, and Vietnam. Since 2007 I have been based at the University of Oregon, in Eugene, as a member of the faculty of Anthropology

Korean Studies Promotion Service/Academy of Korean Studies Grant (2015-20, PI): Mapping Early Korea in a Globalized Context: Interdisciplinary Approach to Origins of Agriculture and Social Complexity in Prehistoric-Early Historic Korea

The Great Project of National Social Sciences of China: Early Neolithic Culture in Northeast China (2015-20): Investigation of the Houtaomuga site, Jilin, China

National Geographic Science and Exploration in Asia Grant (2015-16): The Origin of Neolithic Culture in Jeju Island, Korea

See my blog for more information at



See pulication list in my cv, blog, research gate or google shcolar at:


ANTH 341 Food Origins

Group General-Education Requirement: Group III, Science group

The course aims to introduce scientific analysis of archaeological data on the origins of agriculture and domestication to non-science major students. The course covers up-to-date theories and data on why/how some hunter-gatherers became farmers and the social, cultural, environmental consequences associated with adopting agriculture around the world. By the end of the course students will gain a comprehensive knowledge on the long-term impacts of domestication and agriculture on societies and environments around the globe.

ANTH 345 Archaeology of East Asia

Group General-Education Requirement: Group II, Social science group

Many of us probably heard about the ambiguous word, ‘East Asia’ through mass media, reporting the political ups and downs, economical booms and downfalls, films, and tourism. What is ‘East Asia’? One easy answer is the geographical definition, indicating the region where modern nations of China, Mongolia, Korea, and Japan stand. Then who are ‘East Asians’? What is the East Asian cultural identities? These questions are not so easy to answer in a word or two, and have fuelled fascinating research on the remote prehistory and early history. Through discussions, readings, and film watching, the course will navigate 40,000 years of developing East Asia.

ANTH 446/546 Practical Archaeobotany

This course introduces the principles and research procedures of archaeobotany (or paleoethnobotany), a sub-discipline of archaeology. The laboratory portion of the course covers the recovery methods of plant remains from archaeological sites, the identification of plant remains, and the quantitative and qualitative analysis of plant datasets. Along with laboratory training, students will participate in discussions focused on recent development and theoretical issues in archaeobotany.

ANTH 410/510 People and Plants

Plants are critical resources for every human society. Understanding how humans interacted with plants in the past and in current traditional societies is one of the key issues in anthropology and environmental studies. The weekly topics for discussion include the research history of plant exploitation, prehistoric/historic data on wild plant use and cultivation, ecological and environmental approaches, pre-industrial, traditional agricultural techniques, and cultural roles and meanings of dietary and other plants around the world.

ANTH 610 Topics in Archaeology

Evolutionism in Anthropology; Archaeology of East Asia and Pacific