Three centuries ago, early settlers and slaves began clearing cypress swamps and low-lying areas around Charleston County for what became an extensive network of inland rice fields flooded by a network of ditches and canals. The massive amount of labor required to clear these rice fields and to create their earthen embankments was staggering—rivaling the scale of the labor involved in creating the well-known pyramids of ancient Egypt. A century after these Lowcountry fields ceased to be used for rice, mother nature has reasserted herself and transformed them back into cypress swamps and forested wetlands. Many of us drive past or through these old rice fields during our daily commutes, but few look at the forests bordering our roads and remember the thousands of slaves who created and tended these fields and enriched their masters by harvesting Lowcountry rice. So how can you recognize and old inland rice field? Is there any way to preserve or protect this part of the Lowcountry’s landscape heritage? If you’d like to learn the answer to these and other questions, please join us at the Charleston County Public Library this Wednesday, October 30th, as we host historian Charles Philips of Brockington and Associates for an illustrated discussion of his recent field investigations of the remainders of inland rice fields in the Charleston Lowcountry.
“Inland Rice Fields of Charleston County”
Time: Wednesday, October 30th 2013 at 6 p.m.
Place: Charleston County Public Library, 2nd Floor Classroom, 68 Calhoun Street, 29401.
For more information, please contact Dr. Nic Butler at butlern[at]ccpl.org or 843–805–6968.