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Heath, Hollenbach Receive Chesapeake Cultural Studies Grant

Barbara J. Heath

Anthropology Professor Barbara Heath and Assistant Professor Kandi Hollenbach received a $24,461 grant from The Conservation Fund to continue research into the relationships between people and plants in the Chesapeake region in the 17th and 18th centuries.

With the grant, researchers will be able to study economic and social exchanges between colonial people across 16 archeological sites in Maryland and Virginia, focusing on the uses of native plants and the introduction of non-native species to the area.

“For the time period that we’re interested in, there hadn’t been much research,” Heath said. “We decided to do a comparative study that looked at sites that date from around 1630 to around 1720.”

Researchers seek to document the availability and distribution of plant-based foods and goods, their uses and significance among colonies, and the impact of introduced plants and plant management strategies on the environment.

“Environmental change has been with us through the whole history of humanity,” Heath said.
“There’s a lot of concern about the environment and what’s happening right now, so we’re trying to put some of the contemporary issues into more of a historical context.”

The Conservation Fund is a national nonprofit dedicated to providing economical environmental solutions for communities. The fund presented grants to UT and 10 other research, education, and historical institutions for the conservation, preservation, and study of cultural artifacts from the Chesapeake region dating in the 17th and 18th centuries.

-By Kelly Alley