For my most recent publications please see my or profile


McCoy, M.D. (2020) Maps for Time Travelers: How archaeologists use technology to bring us closer to the past. Oakland: University of California Press.

Kirch, P.V. with M.D. McCoy. (in press) Feathered Gods and Fishhooks: The Archaeology of Ancient Hawai’i. Second edition. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press. Available: April 2023.

Journal Articles (peer-reviewed)

Butler, C.M.V., Stevenson, C.M., McCoy, M.D., Jorgensen, A. and T.N. Ladefoged. (2022) Temporal patterns in the economization of obsidian use in Aotearoa New Zealand. Journal of Island and Coastal Archaeology. 10.1080/15564894.2022.2135649.

Horsburgh, K.A., Gosling, A.L., Cochrane, E.E., Kirch, P.V., Swift, J.A., and M.D. McCoy. (2022) Origins of Polynesian Pigs Revealed by Mitochondrial Whole Genome Ancient DNA. Animals 2022, 12, 2469. 55.

McCoy, M.D., Casana, J., Hill, A.C., Laugier, E.J., and T.N. Ladefoged (2022). Mapping Ancient Architecture Via Unpiloted Aerial Vehicle-Acquired Lidar: A case study of the Hōlualoa Royal Centre, Kona District, Hawaii Island. Journal of the Polynesian Society 131 (1):71-92. 54.

McCoy, M.D., Cheng, H., Mulrooney, M.A., and T.N. Ladefoged (2022). Garden Offerings in the Kona Field System, Hawai‘i Island: A fine-grained chronology and its implications. American Antiquity. DOI:

Casana, J., Laugier, E.J., Hill, A.C., Reese, K.M. Ferwerda, C., McCoy, M.D. and T.N. Ladefoged. (2021) Exploring Archaeological Landscapes Using Drone-Acquired Lidar: Case Studies from Hawai’i, Colorado, and New Hampshire, USA. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 39: 103133.

McCoy, M.D., Casana, J., Hill, A.C., Laugier, E.J., Mulrooney, M.A. and T.N. Ladefoged. (2021) Unpiloted Aerial Vehicle Acquired Lidar for Mapping Monumental Architecture: A Case Study from the Hawaiian Islands. Advances in Archaeological Practice 9(2):160–174.

McCoy, M.D. (2021) Defining the Geospatial Revolution in Archaeology. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 37:102988.

McCoy, M.D. (2021) Archaeology of Poverty (‘Ilihune) in the Hawaiian Islands. Hawaiian Archaeology 15:7-14.

McCoy, M.D., Cervena, C., Mulrooney, M., McAlister, Kirch, P.V. (2020) Obsidian and Volcanic Glass Artifact Evidence for Long-Distance Voyaging to the Polynesian Outlier Island of Tikopia. Quaternary Research 98:49-57.

Hermann, A., Forkel, R., McAlister, A., Cruickshank, A., Golitko, M., Kneebone, B., McCoy, M.D., Reepmeyer, C., Sheppard, P., Sinton, J., Weisler, M. (2020). Pofatu, a curated and open-access database for geochemical sourcing of archaeological materials. Scientific Data 7:141.

Ladefoged, T.N., McCoy, M.D., Graves, M.W. (2020) Collective action and political agency in the leeward Kohala hinterlands, Hawai‘i Island. Journal of Pacific Archaeology Available at:

McCoy, M.D. (2020) The Site Problem: A critical review of the site concept in archaeology in the digital age. Journal of Field Archaeology. 45(S1):S18-S26.

McCoy, M.D., Ladefoged, T.N. (2019). In Pursuit of Māori Warfare: New archaeological research on conflict in pre-European contact New Zealand. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 56:10113.

Stephens, L. et al. (2019). Archaeological assessment reveals Earth’s early transformation through land use. Science 365(6456):897-902.

Ladefoged, T.N., Gemmell, C., Jorgensen, A., Glover, H., Stevenson, C., McCoy, M.D. O’Neale, D.O. (2019). Social Network Analysis of Obsidian Artefacts and Maori Interaction in Northern Aotearoa New Zealand. PLoS ONE 14(3): e0212941.

McCoy, M.D., Gemmell, C., Jorgensen, A., Glover, H., Stevenson, C., McCoy, M.D. O’Neale, D.O., Ladefoged, T.N. (2019). Geochemical Sourcing of New Zealand Obsidians by Portable X-Ray Fluorescence from 2011 to 2018. Journal of Open Archaeology Data

Reeder-Myers, L.A., McCoy, M.D. (2019). Preparing for the future impacts of mega storms on archaeological sites: an evaluation of flooding from Hurricane Harvey, Houston, Texas. American Antiquity.

Lincoln, N., McCoy, M.D., Ladefoged, T.N. (2018). Stable carbon and nitrogen isotopes in kukui (Aleurites moluccanus) endocarp along rainfall and elevation gradients: archaeological implications. PLoS One.

Flexner, J.F., Field, J.S., McCoy, M.D., Ladefoged, T.N., Kirch, P.V. (2018). Foreign material culture from Hawaiian households in Leeward Kohala. Australian Historical Archaeology. Vol 36.

McCoy, M.D. (2018). Celebration as a Source of Power in Archaic States: Archaeological and historical evidence for the Makahiki festival in the Hawaiian Islands. World Archaeology (Special Issue: The Archaeology of Celebrations). Volume 50, Issue 1.

McCoy, M.D. (2018). The Race to Document Archaeological Sites Ahead of Rising Sea Levels: Recent applications of geospatial technologies in the archaeology of Polynesia. Sustainability 10, 185; doi:10.3390/su10010185

Horsburgh, K.A., McCoy, M.D. (2017). Dispersal, Isolation, and Interaction in the Islands of Polynesia: A Critical Review of Archaeological and Genetic Evidence. Diversity 9, 37. doi:10.3390/d9030037.

McCoy, M.D. (2017). Geospatial Big Data in Archaeology: Prospects and problems too great to ignore. Journal of Archaeological Science 84:74-94.

Flexner, J.L., Mulrooney, M.A., McCoy, M.D., Kirch, P.V. (2017). Visualising Hawaiian sacred sites: The archives and J.F.G. Stokes’s pioneering archaeological surveys, 1906-1913. Journal of Pacific Archaeology 8(1):63-76.

McCoy, M.D., Mulrooney, M.A., Horrocks, M., Cheng, H., Ladefoged, T.N. (2017). Evaluating Agricultural Bet-Hedging Strategies in the Kona Field System: New high-precision 230Th/U and 14C dates and plant microfossil data from Kealakekua, Hawai‘i Island. Archaeology in Oceania 52(1):70-80.

Maxwell, J.J., McCoy, M.D., Tromp, M., Hoffman, A., Barber, I.G. (2017). The Difficult Place of Deserted Coasts in Archaeology: New archaeological research on Cooks Beach (Pukaki), Coromandel Peninsula, New Zealand. Journal of Island and Coastal Archaeology 1-20.

McCoy, M.D., Alderson, H.A., Hemi, R., Cheng, H., Edwards, R.L. (2016). Earliest direct evidence of monument building at the archaeological site of Nan Madol (Pohnpei, Micronesia) identified using 230Th/U coral dating and geochemical sourcing of megalithic architectural stone. Quaternary Research 86:295-303.

Mulrooney, M.A., Wong, C., Esh, K., Belluomini, S., McCoy, M.D. (2016). Integrating Research and Collections Management: The Ho‘omaka Hou Research Initiative at the Bishop Museum. Museum Worlds 4:52-62.

Flexner, J.L., McCoy, M.D. (2016) After the Missionaries: Historical archaeology and sites of traditional religious ritual in the Hawaiian Islands. Journal of the Polynesian Society 125(3):307-332.

McCoy, M.D., Codlin, M.C. (2016) The Influence of Religious Authority in Everyday Life: A landscape scale study of domestic architecture and religious law in ancient Hawai‘i. World Archaeology.

McCoy, M.D., Robles, H.R. (2016) The Geographic Range of Interaction Spheres during the Colonization of New Zealand (Aotearoa): New evidence for obsidian circulation in Southern New Zealand. Journal of Island and Coastal Archaeology. 11(2):285-293.

McCoy, M.D. Codlin, M.C. (2015) Decoding the Rock Art of Old Hawai‘i: A brief report on petroglyphs in Manuka, Ka‘u District, Hawai‘i Island. Hawaiian Archaeology 33-45.

McCoy, M.D., Alderson, H.A., Thompson, A. (2015) A New Archaeological Field Survey of the Site of Nan Madol, Pohnpei. Rapa Nui Journal 29(1):5-22.

Mulrooney, M.A., Esh, K.S., McCoy, M.D., Bickler, S.H., Sinoto, Y.H. (2014) New Dates from Old Samples: A revised radiocarbon chronology for the Wai‘ahukini Rockshelter Site (H8), Ka‘u District, Hawai‘i Island. Hawaiian Archaeology 17-26.

McCoy, M.D. (2014) The significance of religious ritual in ancient Hawai‘i. Journal of Pacific Archaeology 5:72-80.

Lawrence, M., McCoy, M.D., Barber, I., Walter, R. (2014) Geochemical Sourcing Obsidian from the Purakaunui Site, South Island, New Zealand. Archaeology in Oceania 49(3):158-163.

McCoy, M.D., Carpenter, J. (2014) Strategies for obtaining obsidian in pre-European contact era New Zealand. Public Library of Science One (PLoS One). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0084302

McCoy, M.D., Ladefoged, T.N., Codlin, M., Sutton, D.G. (2014) Does Carneiro’s circumscription theory help us understand Maori history? An analysis of the obsidian assemblage from Pouerua Pa, New Zealand (Aotearoa). Journal of Archaeological Science 42:467-475.

McCoy, M.D., Browne Ribeiro, A.T., Graves, M.W., Chadwick, O.A., Vitousek, P.M. (2013) Taro (Colocasia esculenta) farming in ancient Hawaii: sedimentology and soil nutrient analyses of irrigated pondfield soils. Journal of Archaeological Science 40(3):1528-1538.

McCoy, M.D. Athens, J.S. (2012) Sourcing the Megalithic Stones of Nan Madol: an XRF study of architectural basalt stone from Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia. Journal of Pacific Archaeology 3(1):105-114.

McCoy, M.D., Ladefoged, T.N., Graves, M.W., Stephens, J.W. (2011) Strategies for constructing religious authority in ancient Hawai’i. Antiquity 85, 927-941.

McCoy, M.D., Mills, P.R., Lundblad, S., Rieth, T., Kahn, J.G., Gard, R. (2011) A cost surface model of volcanic glass quarrying and exchange in Hawai‘i. Journal of Archaeological Science 38, 2547-2560.

McCoy, M.D., Asner, G. P., Graves, M.W. (2011) Airborne lidar survey of irrigated agricultural landscapes: an application of the slope contrast method. Journal of Archaeological Science, 38(9), 2141-2154.

Ladefoged,T.N., McCoy, M.D., Asner, G.P., Kirch, P.V., Puleston, C.O., Chadwick, O.A., Vitousek, P.M. (2011) Agricultural potential and actualized development in Hawai’i: an airborne LiDAR survey of the leeward Kohala field system (Hawai‘i Island). Journal of Archaeological Science 38: 3605-3619.

McCoy, M.D. (2011) Geochemical characterization of volcanic glass from Pu‘u Wa‘awa‘a, Hawaii Island. Rapa Nui Journal, 25(2), 41-49.

McCoy, M.D., Graves, M.W. (2010) The role of agricultural innovation on Pacific Islands: a case study from Hawai’i Island. World Archaeology, 42(1), 90-107.

McCoy, M.D., Ladefoged, T.N., Blanshard, A., Jorgensen, A. (2010) Reconstructing lithic supply zones and procurement areas: an example from the Bay of Islands, Northland, New Zealand. Journal of Pacific Archaeology 1(2), 174-183.

McCoy, M.D., Graves, M.W., Murakami, G. (2010) Introduction of breadfruit (Artocarpus altilis) to the Hawaiian Islands. Economic Botany, 64(4), 374-381.

Kirch, P.V., Millerstrom, S., Jones, S., McCoy, M.D. (2010) Dwelling among the gods: a late pre-contact priest’s house in Kahikinui, Maui, Hawaiian Islands. Journal of Pacific Archaeology 1(2):145-160.

Mosley, B., McCoy, M.D. (2010) Sourcing obsidian and pitchstone from the Wakanui Site, Canterbury, New Zealand. Rapa Nui Journal 24(2):6-15

McCoy, M.D., Ladefoged, T.N. (2009) New developments in the use of spatial technology in archaeology. Journal of Archaeological Research 17 (3):263-295.

McCoy, M.D. (2008) Hawaiian limpet harvesting in historical perspective: A review of modern and archaeological data on Cellana spp. from the Kalaupapa Peninsula, Moloka‘i Island. Pacific Science 62(1):21-38.

Kirch, P.V., McCoy, M.D. (2007) Reconfiguring the Hawaiian cultural sequence: Results of re-dating the Halawa Dune Site (MO-A1-3), Molokai Island. Journal of the Polynesian Society 116(4): 385-406.

McCoy, M.D. (2007) Revised late Holocene culture history for Moloka‘i Island, Hawai‘i. Radiocarbon 49(3) 1273-1322.

McCoy, M.D., Hartshorn, A.S. (2007) Wind erosion and intensive prehistoric agriculture: A case study from the Kalaupapa field system, Hawai‘i. Geoarchaeology: An International Journal 22(5):511-532.

McCoy, M.D. (2005) The development of the Kalaupapa field system, Moloka‘i Island, Hawai‘i. The Journal of the Polynesian Society. 116(4):339-358.

Ladefoged, T.N., Graves, M.W., McCoy, M.D. (2003) Archaeological evidence for agricultural development in Kohala, Island of Hawai‘i. Journal of Archaeological Science 30:923-41.

Book Chapters (peer-reviewed)

Lundblad, S.P., Mills, P.R., McCoy, M.D., Kahn, J.G., Mulliken, K., Kaylor, D. (2013) Identification of Volcanic Glass Sources Inferred from Geochemical Analysis of Artifacts on Leeward Hawai‘i Island. In Pacific Archaeology: Documenting the Past 50,000 Years. Glenn R. Summerhayes & Hallie Buckley, eds. University of Otago Studies in Archaeology No. 25, pp. 67-75.

McCoy, M.D., Graves, M.W. (2012) Small valley irrigated taro agriculture in the Hawaiian Islands: an extension of the ‘wet and dry’ hypothesis. In M. Spriggs, D. Addison and P. J. Matthews (eds) (2012) Irrigated Taro (Colocasia esculenta) in the Indo-Pacific: Biological, Social and Historical Perspectives (Senri Ethnological Studies 78). Osaka: National Museum of Ethnology, pp. 115-130.

McCoy, M.D. (2008) Life outside the temple: reconstructing traditional Hawaiian ritual and religion through new studies of ritualized practices. In Religion, Archaeology, and the Material World. Lars Fogelin, ed. Southern Illinois University’s Center for Archaeological Investigations, Occasional Paper No. 36, pp. 261-278. Carbondale, Illinois.

Short Communications

McCoy, M.D., Kahn, J.G. (2014) Editor’s Introduction: Understanding the Hawaiian Past: Papers in Honour of Patrick V. Kirch. Journal of Pacific Archaeology 5:v-vii.

McCoy, M.D., Ladefoged, T., Bickler, S.H., Stephen, J.W., Graves, M.W. (2012) The value of an “eclectic and pragmatic” approach to statistics in chronology building: a reply to T.S. Dye. Antiquity 86(334).

Potts, K., McCoy, M.D. (2012) Geophysical survey and excavations in search of Pa a Tu Pare Taniwha (I44/11), Taieri Plains, Otago. Archaeology in New Zealand 55(1):21-32.

McCoy, M.D. (2008) Comment on Ladefoged and Graves. Variable Development Of Dryland Agriculture in Hawai‘i: A Fine-Grained Chronology from the Kohala Field System, Hawai‘i Island. Current Anthropology 49(5):771-802.

Encyclopedia Contributions

McCoy, M.D. (2015) Taro (Colocasia esculenta) In The Archaeology of Food: An encyclopedia. M.C. Beaudry & K. Metheny, eds. AltaMira/Rowman & Littlefield.

McCoy, M.D. (2011) The Origins of Pacific Peoples. In Encyclopedia of World History. A. J. Andrea, ed. ABC-CLIO.

McCoy, M.D. (2008) The Development of Hawaiian Communities. In Archaeology in America: An Encyclopedia. Francis P. McManamon, ed. Greenwood Publishing.

Book Reviews

McCoy, M.D. (2019) Book Review: Heiau, ‘Āina, Lani: The Hawaiian Temple System in Ancient Kahikinui and Kaupō, Maui, by Kirch, P.V., Ruggles, C. Archaeology in Oceania.

McCoy, M.D. (2018) Book Review: The Oxford Handbook of Prehistoric Oceania. Journal of Pacific Archaeology. 9(2):95-96.

McCoy, M.D. (2015) Book Review: Kua‘aina kahiko: life and land in ancient Kahikinui, Maui, by Kirch, P.V.. Antiquity 89(344):504-5.

McCoy, M.D. (2011) Review of Roots of Conflict: Soil, agriculture and sociopolitical complexity in ancient Hawai’i, edited by Kirch, P.V. Archaeology in Oceania 46:142-3.

McCoy, M.D. (2004) Review of Defining the Pacific: Opportunities and Constraints (The Pacific World: Lands, People, and History of the Pacific,1500-1900, Vol. 1) edited by P.W. Blank and F. Spier. Pacific Affairs 76(4):688.

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