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Cairns

Cairns

Messengers in Stone


Author: David B. Williams
192 Pages, 978-1-59485-681-5
Mountaineers Books 08/27/2012
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Praise for author David B. Williams:

 

“Makes stones sing” --Kirkus Reviews
“Williams’s lively mixture of hard science and piquant lore is sure to fire the readers’ curiosity” --Publisher’s Weekly

*Part history, part folklore, part geology
* Features charming black-and-white illustrations

From meadow trails to airy mountaintops and wide open desert, cairns -- those seemingly random stacks of rocks -- are surprisingly rich in stories and meaning. For thousands of years cairns have been used by people to connect to the landscape and communicate with others, and are often an essential guide to travelers. Cairns, manmade rock piles can indicate a trail, mark a grave, serve as an altar or shrine, reveal property boundaries or sacred hunting grounds, and even predict astronomical activity. The Inuit have more than two dozen terms to describe cairns and their uses!

In Cairns: Messengers in Stone, geologist and acclaimed nature writer David B. Williams (Stories in Stone: Travels through Urban Geology) explores the history of cairns from the moors of Scotland to the peaks of the Himalaya -- where they come from, what they mean, why they’re used, how to make cairns, and more. Cairns are so much more than a random pile of rocks, knowing how to make cairns can drastically alter the meaning of the formation. Hikers, climbers, travelers, gardeners, and nature buffs alike will delight in this quirky, captivating collection of stories about cairns.


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