Christopher Ratté was educated at Harvard University and the University of California at Berkeley. He is currently Professor of Classical Archaeology and Director of the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology at the University of Michigan.

Ratté has extensive archaeological field experience in numerous countries, including the United States, Honduras, England, Greece, Israel, Georgia, and, especially, Turkey. He was a member of the Sardis Expedition from 1980-92, serving as Assistant Director under Crawford Greenewalt from 1989 to 1992. His monograph on Lydian Architecture was published in 2011. From 1993 until 2005, he supervised excavations at Aphrodisias, serving as Co-Director with  R.R.R. Smith. Together with Smith, he edited the fourth volume of Aphrodisias Papers, published in 2008. He is now working on a monograph on the Agora at Aphrodisias. From 2005 to 2009, he was Director of the Aphrodisias Regional Survey. The results of that project were published in a volume co-edited with Peter De Staebler in 2012. Together with Ortwin Dally, he also edited a volume on the Cities of Asia Minor in Late Antiquity, which appeared in the Kelsey Museum Publication Series in 2012.

Ratté's research focuses on the role played by the built environment, from individual monuments to entire social landscapes, in the definition and articulation of social and cultural identity, especially in regions on the peripheries of the Greek and Roman worlds – for example, on how masonry techniques served to articulate the cultural identity of the Anatolian kingdom of Lydia, on the role played by city planning and urban development in the "Romanization" of Aphrodisias, or on how the social organization of Colchis is expressed through regional settlement patterns. At Notion, he is particularly interested in the development and spatial organization of the residential areas of the city.