Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Clifford Fox


Historic cartographic sources, historical accounts, and ethnographic and archaeological data are used help reconstruct past settlement patterns and land uses that together acted to shape the changing cultural landscape of the Virginia Commonwealth University Walter and Inger Rice for Environmental Studies (Rice Center). The Rice Center is located in Charles City County along the north bank of the James River between Richmond and Williamsburg. Presented is a baseline description of the present day condition of the Rice Center property. This is followed by a detailed account of the physiographic and ecological changes that occurred along the Lower James River since the end of the Pleistocene. A cultural context section summarizes the prehistory and history of the Rice Center setting from when humans are first known to have arrived approximately 11,500 years ago through present day. Land use and land use impacts are then analyzed within the chronological/cultural units detailed in this cultural context section. This information is synthesized and applied to a time line reconstruction of the Rice Center environment. While the naturally occurring changes to the Lower James River setting are detailed, emphasis of this study is on how human land use helped shape the Rice Center environment through time.


© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

May 2009

Included in

History Commons