Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Inside a Cairn

Sunday afternoon I visited a well known cairn field in RI. The cairns are compactly constructed, tall and rounded. Although I have been here many times, there is always something new revealed by changes in the light.  As I walked along, I noticed this cairn. with a vertical opening extending through three layers of rocks. The late afternoon sunlight was playing on something inside the cairn.
 When I looked inside, I saw this cavity with a small central rock. To tell the truth, I was half expecting to see an old shoe!

 On the other side of this cairn is a larger opening.
Looking through this opening, I saw this view, with a little sunlight on the central rock. This cairn was clearly constructed to contain a cavity.  Although it seems to align with winter sunset, the view through the cairn is too low to  reach the horizon.  If it has any astronomical significance, perhaps the pattern of sun on the central rock is the indicator.  However, this cavity could simply be a construction style, or have some spiritual meaning, such as a house for a spirit. Or it could have been somebody's hidey-hole.

 The roof of the cavity is held up by a large, flat rock.  In the photo, it is directly underneath the rock with a large lichen.
 This is probably the only cairn with a cavity in the field.  However, there are suggestions that other cairns in this field once also had cavities.
The cairn in the foreground has a large flat rock, that could have been the roof for the depression in its center.  There are also two large chunks of quartz to the right in this cairn.
 Other cairns also seem to have central depressions. Cairns with dimples or vaults often appear on the Rockpiles and Ceremonial Landscapes blogs.

 Maybe the cairns were originally constructed with cavities, and then the cairns were vandalized, or simply fell in. Cairns are often opened due to stories that there is "treasure" in cairns. The treasure is simply the arrangement of the stones.

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