Under the Shade of Thipaak is the first book to explore the cultural role of cycads, plants that evolved over 250 million years ago and are now critically endangered, in the ancient and modern Mesoamerican and Caribbean worlds. This volume demonstrates how these ancient plants have figured prominently in regional mythologies, rituals, art, and foodways from the Pleistocene-Holocene transition to the present. Contributors discuss the importance of cycads from a variety of disciplinary perspectives, including biology and population genetics, historical ecology, archaeology, art history, linguistics, and conservation and sustainability. Chapters pay special attention to the enduring conceptual relationships between cycads and maize. This book demonstrates how a close examination of cycad-human relationships can motivate conservation of these threatened plants in ways that engage local communities, as well as promote the significance of ancient and modern practices that unite nature and culture.
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