An Environmental History of Sediment Knowledge and Regulation in the Rhone River over the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries
Giacomo Parrinello
Project type
Projet OHM
OHM(s) involved
  • OHM Vallée du Rhône
Géohistoire, Géomorphologie, Histoire
Historical research on Rhône River has led to a very good understanding of the river’s process of domestication, its main drivers and most important turning points. Likewise, the geomorphology of the river has also been thoroughly investigated, leading to a significantly enhanced understanding of sediment dynamics over time. The history of knowledge and management of sediment, however, has not been systematically studied, in the Rhône as elsewhere. This project aims to investigate this history, by combining the study of theoretical understandings of sediment in river system of the nineteenth century, of subsequent attempts at quantification and measure of sediment transport, and of the direct and indirect regulation of sediment movement, extraction, and deposition by actors of river management. This will accomplished through the systematic review and analysis of hydrological and engineering literature as well as of printed sources produced by actors of river management, to be complemented by relevant archival collections. The project will contribute to understanding the history of sediment knowledge and management in the Rhône river, while providing elements for comparison with other major Mediterranean basins like the Ebro and the Po Rivers, which the PI is investigating, and ultimately contribute to the interdisciplinary integration of geomorphological and socio-historical approaches to the sediment in river systems.


Giacomo Parrinello