By Deane Barker

Definition: a man-made pile of stones, meant to de-mark or memorialize something

Often, the stones were a burial mound, containing a body and intended to keep it away from predators or scavengers.

Why I Looked It Up

From Reamde:

The place was marked by a simple cairn.

I remember I went geocaching once, and a couple of caches were located in or around small cairns. That’s how you would know you found the cache, because the stack of rocks stuck out from everything else. It was one of those things that made you think, “A human had to have put that there.”

I also traveled to Vancouver around the time of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games. The mascot for the games was man-shaped pile of rocks – I remember seeing it several times in the airport.

From an NPR article:

Attentive fans of the Winter Olympics may have noticed that the official logo of the 2010 games is a pile of rocks. It’s a stylized version of an inukshuk, the stone cairns built by the Inuit people of the Canadian Arctic.

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