Tuesday, July 24, 2012

A Pile of Stones

     Rock cairns may, at times, appear to be simple piles of stones but these man-made structures have been used throughout the world and throughout time as markers for various purposes:
  • markers for pathways or navigation (sea marks), signals for direction (Inuit inuksuk - see post: The Inuksuk)), 
  • ceremonial or religious purposes, 
  • remembrance of people or events (airplane crashes-see post: The Accidental Cannibal) 
  • solar observatories (Medicine Wheels, North America-see post: Temples to Watch the Sun) in modern times, 
  • as storage sites for preservation of rare or threatened specimens and,
  • in the frozen north or at high altitude, as caches for protection and storage of food.
Sea 'Mark', Finland

     The Svalbard Global Seed Bank on the island of Spitzbergen, Norway is a giant cairn/vault established to preserve samples of the world's seeds, guarding them from extinction.

     Cairns as graves have been used since prehistoric times with different configurations (based on the design and age that they were built) described as chambered cairns, clava cairns and court cairns.  
     The city of Cairns in Queensland, Australia is not named after the finding of stone mounds but rather after the state's governor of the day (1876), William Wellington Cairns.
The Svalbard Global Seed Bank

     A burial cairn, is a last place of rest, a symbol of endurance as well as a monument to the person(s) beneath the pile of stones. Memorial to Stella Maris.
 Cairn Memorial to Stella Maris
Rugby Crash (1972)

     *Stone markers and symbols: subject of research for the novel  The Tao of the Thirteenth God - Amazon Kindle.
Chamber Burial Cairn
-Orkney Islands

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