Hinterland of Ancient Epidauria

Given the research interests of the CHiL faculty, the primary geographical spaces represented in the CHiL consist of the Mediterranean and the coastal regions of the North American Southeast. 

Largely coastal in orientation, both of these spaces have long held societal advantages, providing for diverse food resources and enhanced communication with others. When considering coastal regions in general, a large portion of the world’s population lives in these areas. This creates conditions where the pressures of habitation and ecological conservation often conflict with the needs to preserve cultural, historical, and archaeological identities. Often, growth in these regions threaten the regional understandings of the successes and failures of people living in the coastal zone. Further complicating this picture are the physical amenities of the landscape that make our coastal communities susceptible to the expansion of the leisure and tourism industries, further pressuring the needs of communities living at the edge.

At the same time, the ecological conditions of coastal regions are highly sensitive to environmental fluctuations, enhancing the effects of local and global conditions in ways that are sometimes less evident in other ecological zones. The combination of long-term human occupation and corresponding human landscape modification and ecological sensitivity make coastal landscapes as a rich laboratory for exploring the interrelationships between human and natural forces upon our world.

CHiL Faculty have identified the following regions of focus. The following are either ongoing or in the formative stages of development:

  • The ACE Basin is one of the largest undeveloped estuaries along the Atlantic coast of the United States, encompassing the watersheds of the Ashepoo, Combahee, and Edisto Rivers. Under cultural and environmental easements to limit development, the region represents a landscape where historical human-environmental interaction up the mid-20th century can be observed.
  • The Epidauria, Greece. The broader phenomenon of Mediterranean civilization is dependent upon understanding both small-scale regional histories and the ways in which these micro-regions interacted within local and long-distance engagements. The Epidauria consists of coastal and upland regions, lacustrine and fluvial hydrological systems, and connectivity to places which were formative for the formation of complex social systems over the course of human history. The integrative study of geomorphological, paleoenvironmental, archaeological, and historical evidence within this region would bring to light the ways in which environmental and human systems engaged over the course of the longue durée of history.
  • The Charleston greater metropolitan region provides a living-working laboratory that documents the sensitivity of the coastal environment to climatic fluctuations across centuries. This urban environment has progressed from walls and farms to a completely urbanized landscape of industry and high-density development.