• Ph.D., Anthropology , University of California, Santa Barbara . Project: The Human Ecology of Conflict: A case study from the Prehispanic Nasca Highlands of Peru
  • M.A., Anthropology, University of California, Santa Barbara
  • B.S., Anthropology, University of Utah

Recent and Ongoing Research

In-PressVernon, Kenneth B., Weston C. McCool, Peter J. Yaworsky, Jerry Spangler, Brian F. Codding. The Fremont Frontier: Living at the Margins of Maize FarmingAmerican Antiquity.

2024, McCool, Weston C., Brian F. Codding. U.S. homicide rates increase when resources are scarce and unequally distributedEvolutionary Human

2023Arkush, Elizabeth, Weston C. McCool, Ryan Smith. The Late Intermediate period in the south-central highlands: Key problems in timing. In: Leveraging Radiocarbon in the Central Andes: From Chronologies to Research Agendas (Eds., Contreras, D., Marsh, E., Rademaker, K.), Quaternary International.

2023Yaworsky, Peter M., Kenneth B. Vernon, Weston C. McCool, Brian F. Codding. Land use patterns of the west Tavaputs Plateau driven by population expansion and contraction during the Formative Period. In: The Dynamic Influences of Climate Change on Prehistoric Lifeways in the Americas (Eds., Wilson, K.M., McCool, W.C.), Quaternary International Special Issue.

2023McCool, Weston C. Migration, settlement, and warfare in the Nasca highlands of Peru. In: Papers is Memory of Bradley J. Parker (Eds., Kennedy, J., Mullins, P.). Sidestone Press. 

2023Wilson, Kurt M., Weston C. McCool, Joan Brenner Coltrain. Climatic influences on subsistence intensification along the coasts of the prehispanic Central Andes. Special Issue: The Dynamic Influences of Climate Change on Prehistoric Lifeways in the Americas (Eds., Wilson, K.M., McCool, W.C.). Quaternary International.

2023McCool, Weston C., Amy S. Anderson, Alexis J. Baide, Brian F. Codding. Population pressure and agricultural intensification mediate climatological drivers of chronic childhood stress in the ancient central Andes. Special Issue: The Dynamic Influences of Climate Change on Prehistoric Lifeways in the Americas (Eds., Wilson, K.M., McCool, W.C.). Quaternary International,

2023, Macfarlan, Shane J., Ryan Schacht, Weston C. McCool, Connor A. Davis, Anahi D. Yerman, Francisco Javier Higuera Landeros, Maximo Amador Amador. Decision-making under climate shocks and economic insecurity: Ranching in rural Baja California Sur, Mexico. Special Issue: Dispatches from the Field. Evolution and Human Behavior.

2023, Wilson, Kurt M., Weston C. McCoolThe Environmental Null: Documenting the changing influence of physical and social environments on prehistoric Andean diets. In: Foodways of the Ancient Andes: Transforming Diet, Cuisine, and Society (Eds., Alfonso-Durruty, M.P., Blom, D.E.). University of Arizona Press.

2022, McCool, Weston C., Kurt M. Wilson, Kenneth B. Vernon. Ecological constraints on violence avoidance tactics: An explanation for high rates of lethal and sublethal violence in the Prehispanic Andean highlandsEnvironmental Archaeology

2022, Kennett, Douglas J., Marilyn Masson, Carlos Peraza Lope, Stanley Serafin, Richard George, Thomas Spencer, Julie Hoggarth, Brendan J. Culleton, Thomas Harper, Keith M. Prufer, Susan Milbrath, Stanley Russell, Eunice Uc González, Weston C. McCool, Valorie V. Aquino, Jason H. Curtis, Victor Polyak, Norbert Marwan, Mingua Zhang, Andrew Mason, Gideon Henderson, Gerald H. Haug, Mark Brenner, Yemane Asmerom, James U.L. Baldini, Sebastian F. M. Breitenbach, David A. Hodell. Drought induced civil conflict among the MayaNature Communications 13: 3911.

2022, McCool, Weston C., Kenneth B. Vernon, Peter M. Yaworsky, Brian F. Codding. Subsistence strategy mediates ecological drivers of human violencePLoS One 17(5): e0268257.

2022, McCool, Weston C., Brian F. Codding, Kenneth B. Vernon, Peter M. Yaworsky, Kurt M. Wilson, Norbert Marwan, Douglas J. Kennett. Climate change induced population pressure drives high rates of lethal violence in the Prehispanic central AndesProceedings of the National Academy of the Sciences 119(17): e2117556119.

2022, Wilson, Kurt M., Weston C. McCool, Daniel A. Contreras, Simon C. Brewer, Joan Brenner Coltrain, Nicole Zamora-Wilson, Ashlyn M. Huggard, Percy J. Schryver, Roxanne F. Lois Lamson, Brian F. Codding. Climate and demography drive 7000 years of dietary change in the Central AndesNature Scientific Reports 12(1): 1-16.

2021, McCool, Weston C., Amy S. Anderson, Douglas J. Kennett. Using a multimethod life history approach to navigate the osteological paradox: A case study from Prehispanic Nasca, PeruAmerican Journal of Biological Anthropology 175(4): 816-833.

2021, McCool, Weston C., Joan Brenner-Coltrain, Aldo Accinelli, Douglas J. Kennett. The character of conflict: A bioarchaeological study of violence in the Nasca highlands of Peru during the Late Intermediate Period (950 – 1450 C.E.)American Journal of Biological Anthropology 174(4): 614-630.

2020, Daniel M. Fernandes, et al., Weston C. McCool, and David Reich. A Genetic history of the pre-contact CaribbeanNature 590: 103-110.

2020, McCool, Weston C., Daniel C. McCool. We must either protect him or destroy him. In: Vision and Place: John Wesley Powell and reimagining the Colorado River Basin (Eds., Robison, J., McCool, D.C., Minckley, T.). University of California Press. 

2019, McCool, Weston C., Aldo Accinelli, Joan Brenner-Coltrain. Patrones osteológicos de guerra endémica en la Sierra de Nasca durante el Intermedio Tardío (1000-1450 d.C.). In: Actas del VI Congreso Nacional de Arqueología. Lima, Perú: Ministerio de Cultura. 

2019, McCool, Weston C., Peter J. Yaworsky. Fight or Flight: Assessing Fremont territoriality in Nine Mile Canyon, Utah. Special Issue: Territorial Behavior and Ecology (Eds., Codding, B.F., Whitaker, A.R., Stevens, N.E.). Quaternary International 518: 111-121.  

2018, McCool, Weston C., Joan Brenner-Coltrain. A potential oxygen isotope signature of maize beer consumption: An experimental pilot studyJournal of Ethnoarchaeology 10(1): 56-67.  

2017, McCool, Weston C. Coping with Conflict: Defensive strategies and chronic warfare in the Prehispanic Nasca regionLatin American Antiquity 28(3): 373-393. 

2015, Parker, Bradley J., Weston C. McCoolIndices of household maize beer production in the Andes: An ethnoarchaeological investigationJournal of Anthropological Research 71(3): 359-400


In-Review, Vernon, Kenneth B., Weston C. McCool, Peter J. Yaworsky, Jerry Spangler, Brian F. Codding. Settlement adaptations to varying climate among Fremont farmers in Utah. American Antiquity.

In-Prep, McCool, Weston C., Kenneth B. Vernon, Ishmael D’Angelo Medina, Joan Brenner Coltrain, Kurt M. Wilson, Brian F. Codding. Socio-climatological drivers of violent conflict in the pre-contact Bears Ears National Monument, Utah. Target journal: American Antiquity

In-Prep, McCool, Weston C., Kurt M. Wilson, Brian F. Codding. Socio-climatological drivers of peaceful interactions over 7,000 years of Andean deep history. Target journal: Nature Climate Change.

In-Prep, Hoggarth, Julia A., Claire E. Ebert, Weston C. McCool, Jaime J. Awe, Brendan J. Culleton, Michael Holton Price, Carolyn Freiwald, John P. Walden, Rafael A. Guerra, Christophe Helmke, Rodney Sturdivant, Matthew Looper, Pete Akers, Sebastian F.M. Breitenbach, Kirsten Green-Mink, and Douglas J. Kennett. Climate and Cycles of Collapse and Regeneration in the Central Maya Lowlands. Target journal: Proceedings of the National Academy of the Sciences

In-Prep, McCool, Weston C., Brian F. Codding. Human violence indirectly modifies ecosystems by influencing economic landscape engineering in the pre-contact Southwest. Target Journal: Environmental Archaeology.

In-Prep, Noe, Sarah J., Weston C. McCool, Kurt M. Wilson. The political and subsistence economic roles of camelid agropastoralism over 2000 years of Andean History. Target Journal: Plos One

Research Summary

My research utilizes models from human ecology to explain behavior in the past and present. I am currently working on projects that examine what socioecological conditions promote human conflict. My regional foci are the central Andes and western North America. Methodological specialties include bioarchaeology, isotope chemistry, spatio-statistical modeling, and big data.