Saturday, July 21, 2007

Stone Pile Styles

There are different styles of stone piles located in the Hi-Tor region. They also vary in size. The largest resemble huge mounds with very little evidence of stacking.
It is possible that these large mounds were originally well formed stacks that have been changed due to the effects of gravity, animals walking over them, and trees falling on them. I would guess that the interiors of these piles are still constructed of stacked stones.

Another type of stone pile is a stone pile connected to a large boulder. These are rare in this area. I think that the reason for this is that there are few large boulders in this area. The bed rock is shale, the only large stones are an occasional glacial erratic.

The most striking style of stone pile are the stacked stone piles. They can be further broken down into styles.

Some of these stacked stone piles are circular and they taper with the shape of the hill. They are taller on the uphill side of the pile and less defined on the lower end. This could be the result of gravity's pull or they may have been built this way. This type of pile is usually built on the side of a hill facing the sun. By tapering the design anything laid on top of the pile would get excellent exposure to the sun. This might have been done for agricultural reasons or it could be that bodies would be placed in the sun until the flesh was gone, then the bones of the dead would be buried in the cairn.

Some of the stacked stone piles are rectangular and connected to a circular stack at one end. These seem to be located at the crest of a hill.

The final style is a small cylinder. This type of stone pile would likely be a trail marker. They are often set in lines at even intervals. Like many of the stone piles, when you find one the next one will be found as far as you can see in line with the last one.


Unknown said...

I think these formations are interesting. Thanks for posting the pictures. It would be cool to come upon some in your neck of the woods. -Judy

Anonymous said...


I live in Georgia near a park that has extensive stone piles. The piles are located near a water source and watershed area. Now the area is an overgrown wooded Ravine with a waterfall that runs dry in the summer.
I cannot find any history about the area. Last weekend, I came across what appears to be an old bone fragment- I found this after a heavy rain

Our stone piles resemble the last two pictures on
your site. What period are those stone piles from?

Just curious


Anonymous said...

just came across one of these formations yesterday, one of the strangest i've seen around this area (western pa) it was about four foot high, ten feet long and five feet wide with round mound of soil and dirt on the one corner. it was clear that whomever done this, dug up the rectangle, placed the removed soil to the side forming the dirt pile and then preceded to fill in the hole with creek rock from about 50 feet over from the creek bed. after the pile was large enough then rock was taken to make staked outside walls. also found burnt wood (several pieces varying in size from 6 inches to 3 feet)inside the rock pile with decades worth of humus and moss and leaves atop it all. strange to say the least