What is cairn?

  • (noun): A mound of stones piled up as a memorial or to mark a boundary or path.
    See also — Additional definitions below


Cairn is a term used for a man-made pile (or stack) of stones. It comes from the Scottish Gaelic: càrn (plural càirn). Cairns are found all over the world in uplands, on moorland, on mountaintops, near waterways and on sea cliffs, and also in barren desert and tundra areas. They vary in size from small stone markers to entire artificial hills, and in complexity from loose, conical rock piles to delicately balanced sculptures and elaborate feats of megalithic engineering. Cairns may be painted or otherwise decorated, e.g. for increased visibility or for religious reasons.

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Some articles on cairn:

Clearance Cairn
... A Clearance Cairn is an irregular and unstructured collection of fieldstones which have been removed from arable land or pasture to allow for more effective agriculture and collected into a usually low mound or ... Commonly of Bronze Age origins, these cairns may be part of a cairnfield (a collection of closely spaced cairns) where some cairns might be funerary ... Clearance cairns are a worldwide phenomenon wherever organised agriculture has been practised ...
Leechtown, British Columbia - Location
... The site of the Gold Commissioner's house is marked by a cairn on the north-western side of the Leech River at 48°29.741′N 123°42.705′W / 48.495683°N 123.71175°W / 48.495683 -123.71175 (Gold ... The current stone cairn is a replica cairn erected by concerned businessmen after the original cairn was destroyed by vandals ... The original cairn's bronze dedication plate has been stolen but it used to read ...
Black Hill (South Lanarkshire)
... It overlooks the Clyde Valley, and is the location of a burial cairn from the Bronze Age and an Iron Age fortress ... height of 290m (or 951 feet) - and now has an ordnance survey triangulation point on top of the cairn ... outline of the Iron Age fort and its settlement enclosure along with the Bronze Age burial cairn are clearly visible ...
Cairn (disambiguation)
... Cairn is a manmade pile of stones ... Cairn may also refer to Cairn Energy Cairn Magazine Cairn na Burgh Mòr Cairn O' Mounth Cairn Terrier Cairn Toul Cairn Valley Light Railway Cairnbaan Cairncastle Presbyterian Church Cairne Bloodhoof ...
Sea Cairns
... Coastal cairns called sea marks are also common in the northern latitudes, and are placed along shores and on islands and islets ... In the Canadian Maritimes, cairns have been used as beacons like small lighthouses to guide boats, as depicted in the novel The Shipping News ...

More definitions of "cairn":

  • (noun): Small rough-haired breed of terrier from Scotland.
    Synonyms: cairn terrier

Famous quotes containing the word cairn:

    Much wondering to see upon all hands, of wattles and woodwork made,
    Your bell-mounted churches, and guardless the sacred cairn and the rath,
    And a small and a feeble populace stooping with mattock and spade,
    Or weeding or ploughing with faces a-shining with much-toil wet;
    While in this place and that place, with bodies unglorious, their chieftains stood....
    William Butler Yeats (1865–1939)