Originally Posted: July 2020
Mark D. McCoy is a geospatial archaeologist and professor at SMU. Prior to our first meeting on campus, I had envisioned a dark office crowded with high-tech equipment and stacks of technical manuals. Instead, I walked into a light, airy space with a low-tech chalkboard and an approachable person who carries with him the sensibility of the sea. Raised in Delaware and educated in the States and New Zealand, McCoy focuses his efforts on Oceania. He has worked in the Hawaiian Islands, New Zealand, Pohnpei, and Palau.
His new book, Maps for Time Travelers: How Archaeologists Use Technology to Bring Us Closer to the Past, is like the author: accessible. While the book takes on the esoteric subject of how geospatial technology is revolutionizing the field of archaeology, McCoy wrote it for the layperson. He moves from the familiar—references to the time-travel fiction of Twain, Wells, and Doctor Who—to an explanation of how technology is being utilized in the exploration of human history. Each chapter takes on a geospatial tool (GPS, for example) and describes in jargon-free language how it is used in the practice of archaeology. READ MORE