The Department congratulates Professor Michael D. Carrasco on a remarkably prolific academic year. He has presented papers at international conferences and symposia, served as a keynote speaker at The First National Symposium of Cycad Ethnobotany and Ecology in Hidalgo, Mexico, organized a session of the World Archaeological Congress in Kyoto, Japan, and received a significant multi-year Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología (CONACyT) Frontiers of Science grant as part of a collaborative interdisciplinary team focused on the intersection of archaeology, art history, and genomic studies.
Carrasco is part of a team of five international researchers in the CONACyT-funded project Cícadas y la Domesticación de Maíz en el Paisaje Mesoamericano: Elucidando una Relación Milenaria Mediante la Genómica, la Arqueología y la Geografía Cultural [Cycads and the Domestication of Maize in the Mesoamerican Landscape: Elucidating a Millenary Relationship through Genomics, Archaeology and Cultural Geography]. This project, directed by Angelica Cibrian-Jaramillo of the Ecological and Evolutionary Genomics division of the National Genomics Laboratory for Biodiversity, seeks to understand agroecosystems of the Paleo-Indian period through the present by examining archaeological, art historical, ethnographic, and genomic evidence. Initial independent studies by the team’s researchers point to a hitherto underappreciated relationships between cycads and maize. The formal resemblance between cycad cones and the maize ear as well as similar processing techniques (nixtamalization) suggests that cycads may have been a guide to the selection and modification of early maize. The project explores this relationship and compares the archaeological and ethnographic evidence to the patterns of hybridization in certain cycad populations. Both lines of evidence suggest that human transportation of cycads began in the Paleo-Indian period.
During the last academic year Carrasco has also presented seven papers, four at international venues in Mexico and Japan and three within the United States. These papers cover topics ranging from cycads in Formative period art and archaeology, to Palenque sculpture, to issues in digital humanities. Additionally he co-organized (with Joshua Englehardt) the session The Presentation, Representation, and Reproduction of the Archaeological Object for the 8th World Archaeological Congress in Kyoto, Japan. Three of the papers, also co-authored with Englehardt, showcase their NEH-funded work on Mesoamerican Formative period sculpture and writing systems as well as the digital tools developed with Dennis Slice and FSU’s Morphometrics Lab. Their session at the World Archaeology Conference also featured work in digital archaeology currently underway at FSU, including Nancy de Grummond’s collaboration with Carolyn Henne and the Facility for Arts Research for the exhibition Ancient Pottery in 3-D: Etruscan Ceramics from Cetamura del Chianti; Daniel Seinfeld’s digitization and presentation of Florida State’s archaeological collections; and a new collaboration between Carrasco, Englehardt, and Henne to reproduce La Venta Monument 4.
With the support of an NEH Fellowship Carrasco will be on leave this year to focus on his book From the Stone Painter’s Brush: An Anthology, Commentary, and Analysis of Classic Maya Literature.