• English, fluent.
  • Spanish, functional.

Geographical Regions of Interest

  • Central America
  • Latin America and the Caribbean
  • South America
  • United States of America

Research Statement

Weston’s research focuses on the strategies humans use to adapt to challenging circumstances. Whether resource-poor environments, climate change, population pressure, or conflict, people establish innovative, though not always successful, strategies for coping with hard times. Weston’s role as an archaeologist is to use our material remains to infer past behavior within a perspective of human ecology and evolution. His current research focuses on the socioenvironmental conditions that promote conflict, and its effects on population health and resilience. Weston also conducts research on economic risk management, patterns of regional settlement and abandonment, dietary reconstructions, and paleoecology. His research combines the use of archaeological and osteological data with environmental records and spatial models. He conducts fieldwork in the Central Andes, Mesoamerica, and the North American Southwest.

Weston is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the Society, Water, and Climate Interdisciplinary Research Group and is PI on an NSF-funded project in the four-corners region of North America that investigates how climate change, population pressure, inequality, and environmental productivity interact to influence levels of conflict. This project is focused on developing scientific tools that can be used to establish what conditions consistently lead to conflict, with the ultimate goal of establishing models that can aid in conflict mitigation in the present and future. 

Research Keywords

  • Violence and Warfare
  • Quantitative Methods
  • North American Prehistory
  • Isotope analysis
  • Inequality
  • Human - Environment Interactions
  • Evolution and Ecology
  • Environmental and Spatial Modeling
  • Demography
  • Climate Change
  • Bioarchaeology
  • Andean Prehistory


  • Shane J. Macfarlan & Ryan Schacht, Weston C. McCool, Connor A. Davis, Anahi D. Yerman, Francisco Javier Higuera Landeros, Maximo Amador Amador (2023). Decision-making under climate shocks and economic insecurity: Ranching in rural Baja California Sur, Mexico. Evolution and Human Behavior. Accepted, 10/01/2023.
  • Kurt M. Wilson & Weston C. McCool, Joan Brenner Coltrain (2023). Climatic influences on subsistence intensification along the coasts of the prehispanic Central Andes. Quaternary International. Accepted, 10/01/2023.
  • Weston C. McCool & Amy S. Anderson, Alexis J. Baide, Brian F. Codding (2023). Population pressure and agricultural intensification mediate climatological drivers of chronic childhood stress in the ancient central Andes. Quaternary International. Accepted, 10/01/2023.
  • Weston C. McCool (2023). Migration, settlement, and warfare in the Nasca highlands of Peru. Sidestone Press. Published, 10/01/2023.
  • Elizabeth Arkush & Weston C. McCool, Ryan Smith (2023). The Late Intermediate period in the south-central highlands: Key problems in timing. Quaternary International. Accepted, 10/01/2023.
  • Kurt Wilson & Weston C. McCool (2023). The Environmental Null: Documenting the changing influence of physical and social environments on prehistoric Andean diets. University of Arizona Press. Published, 08/01/2023.
  • Weston C. McCool, Kenneth B. Vernon, Peter M. Yaworsky & Brian F. Codding (2022). Subsistence strategy mediates ecological drivers of human violence. PLOS ONE. Vol. 17, e0268257. Published, 05/24/2022.
  • Weston C. McCool & Brian F. Codding, Kenneth B. Vernon, Peter M. Yaworsky, Kurt M. Wilson, Norbert Marwan, Douglas J. Kennett (2022). Climate change induced population pressure drives high rates of lethal violence in the Prehispanic central Andes. Proceedings of the National Academy of the Sciences. Vol. 119. Published, 03/03/2022.
  • Kurt M. Wilson & 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 (2022). Climate and demography drive 7000 years of dietary change in the Central Andes. Nature Scientific Reports. Vol. 12. Published, 02/01/2022.
  • Weston C. McCool & Amy S. Anderson, Douglas J. Kennett (2021). Using a multimethod life history approach to navigate the osteological paradox: a case study from the Nasca highlands. American Journal of Biological Anthropology. Vol. 175, 816-833. Published, 03/01/2021.
  • Weston C McCool & Joan Brenner-Coltrain, Aldo Accinelli, Douglas J. Kennett (2020). 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. Vol. 174, 614-630. Published, 12/31/2020.
  • Daniel M. Fernandes & et al., Weston C. McCool, and David Reich (2020). A Genetic History of the Pre-contact Caribbean. Nature. Vol. 590, 103-110. Published, 12/16/2020.
  • Weston C McCool & Daniel McCool (2020). We must either protect him or destroy him. University of California Press. Published, 07/01/2020.
  • Weston C McCool & Peter J. Yaworsky (2019). Fight or Flight: assessing Fremont territoriality in Nine Mile Canyon, Utah. Quaternary International. Vol. 518, 111-121. Published, 05/01/2019.
  • Weston C. McCool & Joan Brenner-Coltrain (2018). A potential oxygen isotope signature of maize beer consumption: an experimental pilot study. Journal of Ethnoarchaeology. Vol. 10, 56-67. Published, 03/01/2018.
  • Weston C. McCool (2017). Coping with Conflict: defensive strategies and chronic warfare in the Prehispanic Nasca Region. Latin American Antiquity. Vol. 28, 373-393. Published, 08/01/2017.
  • Bradley J. Parker & Weston C. McCool (2015). Indices of household maize beer production in the Andes: an ethnoarchaeological investigation. Journal of Anthropological Research. Vol. 71, 359-400. Published, 09/01/2015.