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Movement and Gathering Across Time: A Preliminary Report on the Potomac River Gorge Environmental History and Historic Resource Study Project

Kirsten Crase- Research Associate & Project Director, University of Maryland School of Architecture Planning and Preservation

As part of the Chesapeake Watershed Cooperative Ecosystem Studies Unit, this research project on the Potomac River Gorge is aimed at better understanding the complex relationship between humans and nature in the culturally and biologically rich Potomac Gorge area. The remarkable geology, hydrology, and biology of the Gorge area—stretching 15 miles from the Great Falls of the Potomac to the beginnings of tidal influence in northwest Washington, D.C.—have existed for millennia in tandem with complex and sophisticated human activity, habitation, and development in this area. The final report will examine synthetically the relationship between these natural and human forces, and with two guiding themes underlying the synthetic approach—those of movement and gathering across time. This preliminary presentation will make use of GIS data and mapping to demonstrate the presence of these natural-cultural intersections at a variety of scales, and will situate them in a broader historical context.

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