Though a small state, Maryland contains many of the
physiographic regions that occur on the Eastern Coast of the United
States. Our discussion of pottery wares is presented in relationship
to the Regional Map that shows four main divisions. Nearly half of
Maryland consists of the Atlantic Coastal Plain Province, an area
of sedimentary deposits and large river drainages. The Chesapeake
Bay divides the Coastal Plain in Maryland into two parts – the Eastern
Shore and the Western Shore. The Eastern Shore, located between the
Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, is an area of relatively flat topography
while the Western Shore has a more rolling topography and steeply
The Piedmont region begins at the Fall Line, which
runs diagonally southwest to northeast from Washington D.C., through
Baltimore City and continuing on past the head of the Chesapeake Bay.
The Fall Line was important in prehistoric times for fish resources
and in historic times for water power. The Piedmont region covers
the central portion of Maryland, with the Monocacy River drainage
making up its western portion.
The remaining physiographic regions have been grouped
into one area referred to as Western Maryland. This reflects the cultural
history of the area rather than the physical environment since the
Native groups that inhabited this region were more connected with
each other than the rest of Maryland. Thus Western Maryland includes
the Blue Ridge, Ridge and Valley, and the Appalachian Plateau. These
are mountainous areas cut through by numerous freshwater streams and
rivers. A small section of far Western Maryland is located on the
western side of the Eastern Continental Divide. This area drains into
the Mississippi River while the rest of Maryland drains east and south
into the Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic Ocean.
For further details see Vokes
and Edwards 1974.