Uses of Stones:  Pebbles, cobbles and boulders
Revised:  23 March 2017

"Stones ..."  Addenda
 Last update:  2 January 2017

            Emphases of the two part of this bipartite web site are:   Uses ... -- Tabulations that comprise a rather comprehensive coverage of the Uses of Stones;   [and]  Addenda ... -- Post publication additions that would have been taken into consideration had another edition, "Stones: Their collection, identification, and uses" been prepared for publication.

        If anyone has suggestions or knows about uses that are not included in the Uses listed in the Uses ...  part of this web site, OR additional comments or suggestions re "Stones...",  please contact me  | Contact Author |. 

           Both parts of this web site will be updated continually.
R.V. ["Dick"] Dietrich

Uses of Stones:
Pebbles, cobbles and boulders

Frontispiece.  While trying to find an old mile post, I drove several hundreds of miles -
- virtually all of the roads in both Isabella and Mackinac counties.  This is the only one found.


         The definition for stone as applied in this document is as follows:   A loose entitiy (larger than a sand grain) that is made up of one or more minerals or rock materials and has its loose aspect as the consequence of natural processes.  That definition is repeated here so readers will know why, for example, uses of quarried rocks, which are frequently referred to as  stone, are not included.   In addition, it seems prudent to note that uses of loose concretions and tectites, which are so-to-speak "oddball" stones, are NOT included in this compilation;  this is so even though a few of their uses are recorded in both "Stones ..." and the Addenda part of this web site.  However, a few uses of "man-made" stones and rocks, given as examples, are treated in an Appendix. 

          The tabulated Uses in this document include those described in the second edition of "Stones: Their collection, identification and uses";  the Addenda part of this web site;  plus a few others to which my attention has been directed.

           Colored photographs, some not previously published, that show a few of the uses are included. 

The tabulations:

        Seven tabulations are given under the following headings:  Weights, Sports, Health, Rituals, Tools, Construction, and Miscellaneous Uses (with a subgroup Objets d'Art).  An eighth tabulation includes uses by or related to Animals other than humans.  Unfortunately, these categories are less than perfect  -- i.e., some of the listed uses could be put into one or more of the tabulations other than those chosen;  as a matter of fact, a few of the uses are included on more than one of the tabulations. 

              The first column in each tabulation has a designation plus or minus short description or example of the use.
             The second column indicates where each use is described in the second edition of "Stones[:] Their collection, identification, and uses" (e.g., Stones ...p.83); in the Addenda that is the second part of this web site (e.g., Addenda - 9/2004);  or elsewhere (e.g., See above text.).  The designations that follow the Addenda entries can be used as bases for search procedures to find each of the the given entries;  citations to original or additional descriptions of the uses are given there.
              The third column, "REMARKS ...:", includes citations to on-line sources of pertinent additional description(s) and/or photograph(s);  the pages are cited after these citations to facilitate searching for the data or photographs;  the listed pages for the PDF files are to the numbers given on the scroll indicator.  Nearly all of the listed photographs are also available either directly or via links given on the same overall URL as this bipartite web site -- i.e., titles for the pertinent sites, which are given in the topnav of this URL, are Straits' Stones  and Isabella Stones & Fieldstone Buildings...  Each of these sites is given the short-form designation that is indicated by the bold-face underlined parts of those web sites on the following list:

Fieldstone Buildings in Isabella County, Michigan:  An Illustrated Directory.

Isabella's Stones: Fieldstone buildings, walls, landscape accents & other uses.

Straits' Stones: A picture album (Fieldstones -- Buildings and other uses ...  

A few of the referenced photographs, however, are in the updated versions of these documents;  these are on this UR.  References to these are followed by an underlined plus sign that is in bold-face (e.g., Straits' Stones+).  For information relating to cited articles etc. given in this sub-website, see the References at the end of the second part of this website -- i.e., "Stones ..." Addenda.

~ ~ ~ + + & + + ~ ~ ~


        The uses in this group include only loose stones that are not conjoined, along with other stones, by any bonding material such as mortar or a resin.  Many of the uses of this group are short-lived.  They reflect, among other things, the fact that most of the cobbles or small boulders that are so-used are readily available "on the spot" whereas manufactured alternatives that are often used for the same purpose are not readily available.

    Brief descriptions of two of these uses that are not included in "Stones..." or the Addenda follow:    
                         Plant protection ...:  Diverse covers -- e.g., styrofoam plant protectors and lightwieght metal containers  -- are put atop plants, such as rose bushes, to protect them from freezing while they are dormant.  The relatively light weight of these covers necessitates the placing of weights atop them to keep them from blowing away.  Stones frequently fill this need. (See Fig.W3)
                            Protective tarps:  This use is a rather embarassing (at least surprizing) omission from both "Stones..." and the Addenda. -- Among other things, for several years, I have placed small boulders here and there atop the tarp that covers my wheelbarrow landscape accent during the snow-falling months.  In any case, stones are widely so-used, be it for short or long periods, to hold tarps in place, whatever their purpose -- e.g., even to hinder easy pilferage.

W1. Cobbles and small boulders have a long history of use use as weights atop beehives, especially during their winter storage

W2. This stone was once used as a weight within a sauerkraut crock.  It now serves as an example of how nostalgia relating to stones may lead to a stone's becoming a so-to-speak "Objet d'art."   As the German-born lady, who owns it told me:   "I call this my art object.  My grandmother and mother both used it when making Sauerkraut to weigh down the contents, so the cabbage would stay in the brine. ... Several years back, I gave this big one a place of honor on this green plate [11½ inches in diameter].  It is displayed on a small table as work of nature's art."   (Photograph © Marta Edie).

W3. Small boulders atop light-weight containers that have been placed over plants to protect them from winter freezings and thawings.  The weight of the boulders keeps the containers from blowing away.

W4. Some "grab and put keeper-stones." 

ballast for boats, even toy boats
Stones ...p.42 & 84  
 Nothing new 
beehives -- atop multistoried ones
Stones ...p.83
See Fig.W1 & Isabella's Stones, p.142.
chimney cover slab -- as stabilizers
Stones ...p.84  Nothing new 
clock weights
Stones ...p.83  Nothing new 
counterweights/balances -- e.g., for winches, treadmills, gates
Stones ...p.84  Nothing new 
cribs -- their "loads"
 See text  in 
 Miscellaneous group.
Photos: See Fig.M2, composite that includes a crib, & Straits' Stones, p.134.
door stops
Stones ...p.82 Photo:  Isabella's Stones, p.68.
drum (bass of  set) -- to keep it in place while it is being played/thumped
Stones ...p.82  Nothing new 
fences -- to stailize posts and to close gaps between lowest wire or rails and the ground
Stones ...p.86  Nothing new
"grab and put"  keeper stones
Straits' stones+ See Fig.W4 & Straits'...+.
"lids" in kraut crocks and tops of barrels and other containers used during the preparation of, for
example, soybean paste and fermenting breadfruit
Stones ...p.84
 Addenda-Weights 2
See Fig.W2 &  Isabella's Stones ...+.
lobster traps -- on their bottom frames to hold the traps in place
Stones ...p.84  Nothing new 
papeweights -- several so-used stones have been modified -
                       - see paperweight "art" entry in Objets d'art subgroup.
Stones ...p.82
Photos:  See Fig.H1. (Health group) &  Isabella's Stones, p.68 & 131. 
pearl divers' "addon weights" -- to help them descend
Stones ...p.84  Nothing new 
plant protection -- to hold light-weight winter covers in place   See above text. See Fig.W3 & Straits' Stones, p162.
population control -- see text
Stones ...p.82  Nothing new 
protective tarps -- to hold them in place
 See above text.           - self explanatory -
roof materials -- to hold thatch, sod, walrus skin, etc. in place
Stones ...p.83  Nothing new 
tethers for animals
Stones ...p.84   [also listed in ANIMAL USES, ---etc.2---]
vehicle loading  -- to increase traction
Stones ...p.85  Nothing new 
weight set (Stone Age)  Addenda-Weights 1    << See
wire mesh stabilizers -- e.g., those used to stabilize loose soil and/or rocks on roadcuts
Stones ...p.85  Nothing new 


        The uses in this group include hunting because many people, though not I, consider it to be a sport.  Loose stones that range in size from small pebbles to relatively small boulders are involved.  

    A few of the tabulated uses, which are not mentioned in either "Stones ..." or the below Addenda, can be described as follows:
                           Bocce, curling, and lacrosse:   The use of natural stones in bocce are historical footnotes;  the natural stones said to have been so-used are  rare  collectors' pieces and usually described as having been used only infrequently.  So far as curling, during one of our visits to Scotland, the land of my wife's forebears, we  stayed in a Bed & Breakfast owned by a well-known Curler;  he had a couple natural stones "formerly used in curling" as display pieces on his front porch.  The use of stones in lacrosse is not well documented;  as noted in "Stones ..." (p.87), "The Iroquois may have [bold face added] ... used the nearly spherical stones found in potholes as the balls in their lacrosse competitions ... "  If that is true, it warrants a "Scary!!!"
                                --- etc. ---    :  The following, which is from the Addenda, seems to warrant repeating here because of questions that come to mind:  "In the small town of Bjorke in the fjord country east of the Lofoten Islands of western Norway, residents resisted removal of the town's only phone booth, first by surrounding it with tractors and their bodies and later by hauling in four huge boulders and chaining them to the booth. -- This, according to an Associated Press Worldstream, dated May 23rd 1997, and also in a follow-up AP release dated June 30, 1997. --  Having lived in Norway for two years, I wonder whether this use might better be put in the Rituals group;  [ i.e.,] it seems likely that at least some of the people involved found their reactive efforts quite the required "ritual." 

S1. Skipping stones -- sketch by Michele Szok;  originally printed in Dietrich (1980).  

S2. Turkey caller  --  This one was made by Henry S. Mosby, Sr (dec'd), who was Professor of Biology (Wildlife Management), Virginia Polytechnic Institute.  The "stone" is a piece of slate that I collected from overburden atop an area where the same slate cconstitutes the underlying bedrock.  That fact is noted because most "stones" used as the "scratchers" of this kind of turkey caller, are small pieces of split/cleaved slate -- i.e., NOT naturally loose, and consequently not stones as the designation is applied in this document (cf  Fig Ap1).   [This photograph is a setup -- i.e., it does not show the caller being used "in the field." ]    

bird watching  -- i.e., accoutrements for those involved in this activity/hobby/"sport"
Pebbles are knocked together to attract relatively uncommon yellow rails  [also in Animal Uses group:
   (---etc.2---, no. 12) ;  the "paths" that "lead to" and thus aid finding rock wrens nests are also noteworthy. .
bocce, curling,  lacrosse "pieces"
  See above text  Nothing new; but, see above comments.  
fetching -- seems to be a sport for the dogs, probably also for the tossers
Stones ...p.114
 Nothing new;  Some interesting tails about this "sport" -- e.g., some dogs' finding the thrown stone even when it is tossed and lands  among similar stones in water where the dog must submerge to get to retrieve it. 
fishing -- achors for boats and sinkers for lines;
              ALSO to create or restore inviting habitats
Stones ...p.84  
&   See >>
 Nothing new,
BUT, attention is directed to the information given for the Fish "reef" entry in the Miscellaneous group and   ---etc.2---(number 13) in the Animal Uses group.
"Go" and "Mancala" board pieces -- stones were
           widely used, especially in the past
Stones ...p.86  Nothing new, but it seems noteworthy that "Mancala" is described by one of my friends who had a rather long career in Africa as "a very complicated African game -- the board is made by grinding ... little holes in a sandstone or grit.  Small pebbles are used as pieces." (Craig Gibson, p.c., 26 February 2017) 
hopscotch stones
Stones ...p.87  Nothing new -- See sketch in "Stones ..."
lifting contests -- e.g., greased boulders
Stones ...p.88  Nothing new -- See sketch in "Stones ..." 

projectiles -- e.g., to hurl, and for slingshots and
Stones ...p.88 & 89
 Nothing new
shot for guns -- as a substitute
Stones ...p.90  Nothing new 
traps -- deadfall and some fish traps
Stones ...p.90  Nothing new 
skipping (dapping, etc.) of stones
Stones ...p.87 &
  Addenda-10/A2002, 3/2003
See Fig.S1.    
substitutes -- e.g., small pebbles for beans of bean bags
Stones ...p.90  Nothing new 
turkey caller --  i.e., the scratcher
Stones ...p.90 See Fig.S2.   
         --- etc. ---      See above text.
    Addenda-Weights 3
 Nothing new  [some of those mentioned in text are also in  ANIMAL USES tabulation]


        The uses in this group relate to mental as well as physical health.  Consequently, they include uses involved with such things as keeping warm (e.g., bedwarmers), eating well (e.g., cooking and baking), and environment (e.g., humidy), as well as uses that are more widely considered health related (e.g., healing and massage therapy).
         Remarks about two of the tabulated uses follow:
                    Drying clothes:  This entry is included in this group, as well as in the Weights group, is based on the aphorism "cleanliness is next to godliness" and my thoughts that relate health, especially mental health. to godliness, as well as to the fact that a lack of cleanliness is frequently correlated with disease.                                                                    
                       ---etc.---     :  Nature has been the creator of the following mental health "device," which, although mentioned in "Stones ..." (p.114) seems well worth elaborating upon here:   Anyone who has listened to the sounds that streams make as they flow over stones has, I suspect, been impressed with the diverse sounds that are produced;  sounds that range from quieting to disquieting;  are ever intriguing, sometimes nearly hypnotic;   ... ;   one could go on and on ... 

                         Buson, the famous Japanese haiku master, alluded to these phenomena-related moods as follows:  ~"Winter storm,   The voice of rushing waters    Is torn by the stones"~   (Translation courtesy of friend Tadao Okazaki).  
                      Henry David Thoreau wrote, in his well known A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers, about a river that he could cross by stepping from stone to stone: "Its constant murmuring would quiet the passions of mankind forever.” 
                       Oscar Hammerstein II’s lyrics in The Sound of Music provide yet another pertinent aphorism: "To laugh like a brook when it trips and falls over stones on its way...”                                                      
                                                      A second use that seems to warrant repeating here pertains to the well-being of people's mental health.  Kits that consist of frames, two to six stones of diverse sizes and shapes, sand and a miniature rake are widely marketed. Possible results that are described and illustrated to show that one can make units that resemble, and presumably exert influences similar those associated with, Zen gardens -- i.e., 'create oases of serenity; and thus appeal ... to both the meditative and creative' instincts of those who place the stones and rake the surrounding sand into the regular patterns, and also to those who observe and contemplate the result."

H1. This stone is an example of an extremely large group of stones, many of which are man-formed, that have a large market and all sorts of suggested uses.  The one shown, largely the mineral sodalite, was represented (falsely, in my opinion) as a polished natural stone.  I suspect it was rounded and thus a given this shape by tumbling.   

H2. This labyrinth is near the northern shore of Lake Michigan.  It serves users with physical exercise plus or minus contemplation and other diverse mental "exercise." 

H3. Massage therapy --  photo to come -- e.g., C/Would Susie set up?   


H4. "Worry stone":  Mine!!!

absorbents -- e.g., of aromatic oils for later emission of desired scents
    Addenda - 6/A2004    < See
aphrodisiac, and other suggested symbolic(?) uses
Stones ...p.93  Nothing new 
baking, boiling of water, cooking ... -- as source of heat
Stones ...p.94  Nothing new 
bed warmer
Stones ...p.105  Nothing new 
bunion & callus removal -- as the abrasive
Stones ...p.91  Nothing new 
camel husbandry ????
Stones ...p.94-95
 Nothing new, AND the two uses given in the reference seem questionable.
"charms" and ornaments
Stones ...p.93
See Fig.H1. - 
   Attention is also directed to information given in Adenda - Objets...5
cosmetic substitute -- e.g., stone used to rub and thus redden ladies' cheeks
Stones ...p.91 & 107
 Nothing new 
disease prevention, etc.
Stones ...p.93  Nothing new 
drainage field charges
Stones ...p.93  Nothing new 
drying clothes -- e.g., stones placed beneath clothes put on beaches to dry in the sun and wind
   < See
"exercise mazes" & labyrinths (see also rituals)
See Fig.H2 &  Straits' stones+.
   Another one, within a wooded area, is shown in Fieldstone buildings, p.114.
Stones ...p.93
  Addenda-Health 4
 Nothing new 
heating pad -- See >>
             See >>
Socks, for example, can be filled with pebbles, heated in an oven or microwave, and used as a substitute for the often used socks plus rice.  Be  sure, however, to use stones that do not explode or react when so heated!!!
humidifiers -- as parts of those, some of which are primarily decorative
 See above text.
Photo:  Isabella's Stones, p.68.
massage & "hot stone" therapy
Stones ...p.91 &
  Addenda-Health 1 &
                  Health 2
See Fig.H3.  
physical conditioning
Stones ...p.92  Nothing new 
punishment (e.g., of Sisysphus)
Stones ...p.92  Nothing new 
purgatives for falconry falcons
Stones ...p.93
  Nothing new  [also noted in ANIMAL USES, ---etc.2 ---]
"reflexology rugs" -- i.e., those that are cobblestone walkways
  Addenda-12/2007    < See
rubbing stones in pastures and on wild grazing lands
Stones ...p.93 &
   See also ANIMAL USES, --- etc.2 ---.
sauna stones
Stones ...p.92  Nothing new 
"scholar's stone(s)" --  (an example)
  Addenda-1/B2003    < See
stone soup production
    Note the Cautions given in the Addenda! >>
Stones ...p.93
 Nothing new 
stutter stoppers -- cf. tranquilizers, below
Stones ...p.91  Nothing new 
tenderizing food -- e.g., octopi Stones ...p.90  Nothing new
thirst quencher
Stones ...p.92  Nothing new 
tranquilizers -- "worry stones" etc.
Stones ...p.91
See Fig.H4 & Straits' Stones, p.125.
"whiskey stones"
 See above text.
   < See
         --- etc. ---    
 See above text. Photo:  Isabella's Stones, p.143.


         Applying the designation Rituals to the following uses of stones is based on a flexible connotation:   It includes both stones known to be used during rituals and stones that merely seem likely to have been connected with past rituals.  In addition, a few of the so-to-speak end products of such rituals that are included certainly were not associated with what most people would consider ritualistic -- e.g., the cairn and inuksuk that are shown as Figure R1). 

    Short descriptions of the following uses, which are not included in either "Stones ..." or the below Addenda, follow:
               ---etc.--- : Three things are included --
                               1. The Nenets, a nomadic tribe of reindeer herders of the Siberian Arctic, are said to believe that "stones with unusual shapes [-] are remnants of the gods who have guarded them for millennia."   (Addenda - Rituals 4)
                                 2. A newspaper article by Maurer (2014) describes the use of stones (inter alia) by a "reiki master" in  Albemarle County, Virginia. ["Reiki originated in Japan as a 'laying on of hands' technique designed to help reduce stress and promote healing ..."]  It seems, however, that for the most part, the described "master"  only co-relates certain minerals with certain clients in her holistic approach to such things as reducing stress.] (Addenda - 12/A2014).  Consequently, this entry may better fit in the Health group.
                                3. The following use, is also difficult to categorize;  it may better fit in the Miscellaneous uses group:    A photograph by Pauline Lubens (which accompanies an article by Crumm (1993), shows a colorfully painted, softball-size boulder held by a young Palestinian teenager, who calls it his intifada stone  [intifada - the Palestinian uprising against the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, which began in the late 1980s]. The article also records the lad's involvement in activities --e.g., stone throwing -- in support of the movement to establish an independent Palestinian state. (Addenda - Rituals 5)   

R1. The "cairn" on the left and the "inuksuk" on the right are examples of several that are in a near-shore area on Mackinac Island, Michigan.  It seems highly unlikely that they were erected with any associated ritual;  also, although the one roughly resembles inuksuit, it certainly has no function such as those of Arctic Canada. 

R2. Left,  Information about and additional photographs of parts of this roughly donut-shaped pile of stones are given in Straits' Stones, p.46-46.  Who made it, for what purpose(s) and when are not known. 
      Right, This fire circle, near a campsite, very likely "witnessed" several "rituals" -- very likely in the "dark of night" -- i.e., those that involved such things as the telling of tall tales and ghost stories. 

R3. This ~5½ ft. high boulder with its commemorative plaque is on the straits side of the American Legion Memorial Park parking lot in St. Ignace. [An aside:  The terraces on Mackinac Island, which were formed when precursors of Lake Huron had higher levels than now, are quite obvious in the background.]

R4. Top:  This engraved boulder serves as a gravestone in a cemetary in Michigan's Upper Peninsula.
      Bottom:   This ~2 ½ feet high boulder and plaque stand in tribute to "The Unknown Soldiers ... who gave their lives ... in the Battle of Mackinac Island August 4, 1814."  It is northeast of British Landing on the island, where, it seems, it was placed with "Great Ceremony."  [Another aside:  The rock of the stone is dolerite.]

  Addenda-12/2002    < See
Stones ...p.97  Nothing new 
birth place indicators  (western Sonora, Mexico)
  Addenda-6/A2012    < See
bridal path edge
   See >>
Straits' Stones -- Additions ... "A Special Path" -- photo and caption.
"burial" customs    
Stones ...p.98  Nothing new 
cairns and inuksuit (plural of  inuksuk)  -- many seem to have been been built "just for something to do" Stones ...p.96 ...
  Addenda-5/A2007, 4/B2008
See Fig.R1& Straits' Stones, p.156-159 &161.

ceremonial role after death of Keiko [also noted in Animal Uses group]
  Addenda-1/2004.    < See
circles?  -- e.g., see writeup of one shown as Fig.R2.        
 See above photos See Fig.R2& Straits' Stones, p.44-45 &136.
commemorative boulders & monuments (some of which are are "worshipped")
Stones ...p.95 See Fig.R3& Straits' Stones, p.153.
courtship practuce in the Andes of  Ecuador
Stones ...p.97  Nothing new 
drying -- i.e., Muslims wiping hands on stones before praying
Stones ...p.95
 Nothing new 
gravestones (monuments and markers, including those for pets) -- graveside rituals are common
Stones ...p.96 &
  Addenda 10/C2002
See Fig.R4 & Straits' Stones,Top, p.151; bottom, p.155.  
kissing of the Blarney Stone etc.
Stones ...p.95  Nothing new 
labyrinths  See above text.
See Fig.H2 & Straits' stones+.   Another labyrinth, within a wooded area, is shown in  Fieldstone buildings. p.114.
landmarks - e.g., where events, commonly historical, occurred; marking   geographic features, civil boudaries, ...
Stones ...p.96 Examples are in Isabella's Stones, p.130, 131;    Straits' Stones, p.73.150, 152-155;   in Straits' Stones+;  AND, several others are in areas here there and everytwhere!
(at) meetings of C(K?)leptomaniacs & Shoplifters Anonymous
  Addenda-12/2003    < See
plaque-bearing boulders
 See above text. See Figs.R3 & 4.  Others are in Isabella's Stones p.130;  Straits' stones, p.152-155, and Straits' Stones.+, search words are Gateway   and   Fishermens' .
rainsticks --the contained pebbles
  Addenda-Rituals 2    < See
sweat baths -- e.g., Apache "saunas"
Stones ...p.95  Nothing new 
Santeria ("saint worship") ceremony stones
   Addenda-Rituals 3    < See
stoning -- e.g., boulders dropped on "law breakers" in the past,
     and pebbles and cobbles hurled at, for example Islamic adultresses
Stones ...p.95
 Nothing new 
tossing pebbles -- Muslim Feast of Sacrifice
Stones ...p.95  Nothing new 
to walk on (after stones are heated)
Stones ...p.95  Nothing new 
         --- etc. ---      See above text. For illustrations, see references cited in the text in introduction to this group.  


         The numerous uses of stone "tools" -- i.e., tools (and weapons) fashioned by, for example, chipping away parts of the original stones are not included;  those tools are no longer stones according to its definition applied in this document.
               The anvil entry is problematic:  Some boulders and even cobbles have certainly been used as the "steady" base (anvil!) upon which, for example, nuts have been placed for cracking by another, typically smaller stone (See Fig. T1).  More commonly, however, bedrock is used as the anvil for most such procedures, and, by definition, bedrock is not a stone
             From a different standpoint, the "pencil and crayon sharpening stones" and the "'strikers' to spark and make fire" are hardly tools in the sense that the term is usually applied. --  So be it.

T1. Nuts have long been cracked by humans and other primates by using stones as both the anvils upon which the nuts were placed and the hammers used to strike, and thus crack, them.  Stones similar to those shown in the above photographs are said to have had widespread use by, for example, the Amerindian Ojibways to remove the shells of acorns which they harvested as a staple of their diets  -- i.e., they ate the "meat" of acorns and extracted acorns' oils, which they used in cooking.  [ An aside:  This use led to my finding several loose stones like the one shown above as an anvil.  Considerations relating to the possible origin of these stones are given in the Addenda part of this web site.  -- See Addenda 11/2015. ]

  T2. Pencil sharpener -- a tool?   At least it -- i.e., THEY -- if smooth like this one, work to give really sharp points!  (photo © Krista D. Brown, 2015)

Stones ...p.99,
   Addenda 11/2015
Sketch: -- The illustration, in "Stones ..." (p.99),  is part of a meteorite, hardly a stone as defined herein.  See Introducctory statement at the beginning of this group AND  Fig. T1 and it caption.

"capstone" for friction based  fire-starters

   Addenda-Other...12    < See
hammerstones Stones ...p.99,      
          &  See >>

Along with the information given in the references listed in the column to the left, I have been told that "In the past, some Maori of New Zealand used stones to beat flax in order to recover its fiber." 
milling -- e.g., grinding grain and pulverizing ores
Stones ...p.100 
 Nothing new 
nut crackers -- e.g., to get nuts and acorns to eat, use in cooking, and also for the production of oil
Stones ...p.99  &
  Addenda-10/B2004  & 11/2015
See Fig.T1.  These are somewhat a redundancy in that they involve stones used as hammer(stones) and either bedrock or larger stones used as anvils.   
pencil and crayon sharpening stones (tools??)
Stones ...p.107  Nothing new, but see Fig. T2. 
  Addenda-1/A2003    < See
"strikers" to spark and make fire (tools??)
Stones ...p.104  Nothing new 


        Most of the uses of this group include cobbles and/or small boulders that have been bound together by mortar.  The resulting structures range from simple, some "humble," to rather complex, and they serve several diverse purposes.  The entries such as those in Isabella's stones that are listed in the second column of the tabulation provide readily available descriptive information not included in the "Stones ..." or the Addenda. 
            [Construction that is based on stones with no mortar -- e.g., dry-laid walls -- are NOT included in this group;  those uses are listed in the Miscellaneous group.   Also, even though they consist of stones and mortar, such things as urns are NOT included in this group;  they are in the Objets d'art subgroup of the Miscellaneous tabulation.]

       A few of the uses on the following table are not included in either "Stones ..." or the Addenda part of this web site.  Special information about those and a few of the other tabulated uses follow:
                   Chimneys:  Stone chimneys, at least structures that are rather widely so-designated, have rather diverse uses and appearances.  Most of these chimneys either served as or surrounded flues for fireplaces or other heating units -- e.g., furnaces;  space heaters, such as Franklin stoves;  and/or cook stoves.  Although many of these chimneys were built to serve heating units of  homesteads and more recently built residences, a few were made to units used in other buildings such as garages and blacksmith shops.  A few chimneys that originally served as fireplaces within buildings are currently used as outdoor fireplaces. 
                     Diverse buildings:  The following stone-sided buildings, have been recorded as occurring in Isabella or Mackinac counties, Michigan (they are named on the basis of their original function):  An airport terminal, bars, barns, a blacksmith shop, a "blast shack," blockhouses, bullpens, a bus hut, a café (postcard photo), two carriage houses, several churches, diverse commercial structures, a corn-crib, cowsheds, a doghouse, garages, granaries, a hen-house, a hog house, a hunting camp, an icehouse, a kennel, lime kilns, mausoleums, milkhouses, a motel(postcard photo), an oil field machine shop, several outhouses (privies), a playhouse, a potato cellar, a potting shed, a "powder (dynamite) magazine," pump houses, residences (including a convent and a rectory), a restaurant, root cellars, rural school houses, silos, smoke houses, storage sheds, a store, a sugar "shanty," summer cottages and homes, a summer kitchen, a swimming pool house, a former town hall, some unknownS, a vacation lodge, well houses, and a windmill support.  Photographs of several of these buildings, many of which no longer serve their indicated role, are included in at least one of the following documents:  Fieldstone buildings,  Isabella's Stones, and Straits' stones  and their updates. 
                    Diverse parts of buildings: The following are some of the parts of the above mentioned buildings, especially residences, that consist largely of or have noteworthy sections that consist of stones and mortar:  Buttresses, chimneys, cisterns, special corners, façcades, fireplaces, foundations, hearths and backsplashes for stoves, ornamentations, panels (e.g., decorative panels in a former bar), porches (especially their railings and posts), shower floors, surrounds of doorways and windows and other wall cladding.  Descriptions and photographs of examples of many of these parts of buildings are also included in one or more of the publications mentioned in the preceding paragraph. 
                    Pillars and posts:  These two designations are used interchangeably by several people.  I tend to think of  pillars as freestanding and commonly decorative and of posts as typically serving to support something -- e.g., a porch roof or some horizontal beam.  In any case, stone-faced pillars and posts have several diverse functions;  their general shapes and size range are similar;  the horizontal cross-sections of most of them are roughly circular or rectilinear (many, nearly square); the arrangements of their constituent stones, be they with exposed original or split surfaces, are rather diverse.  The characteristics of each of these features seem likely to reflect either the specified desires of the persons for whom they were built or the whims of the masons who made them. 
                                  Stone and mortar pillars have been used for such things as mile posts, hitching posts, markers at property corners, as pairs with one on each side of an entranceway (e.g., a walk or driveway), and as bases for lights and/or addresses. [It seems interesting that the first two examples are called posts!]
                                  Stone and mortar posts have been used widely to support porch roofs.  Some of these posts extend from the porch floor upwards, others from railings upward;  others, which hardly warrant this designation, extend only a few inches upward from railings, where they are capped and act as the supports for wooden posts.
                    Walls:   Both dry-laid and wet-laid stone walls, widely referred to as "stone rows," occur here and there the world over.  Those that are wet-laid seem best included in this group (Construction);  those that are dry-laid seem best considered in the Miscellaneous Uses group.   In any case, walls of both groups have several diverse functions.
                                Most walls are referred to on the basis of their function.  Examples are:  Buttresses (e.g., for foundations and lower levels of barns), culvert headers, decorative accents, retaining walls (e.g., those along sides of ramps and terraces), and well housings. Descriptions and photographs of several diverse walls are included in one or more of the publications mentioned in the preceding Diverse buildings paragraph. 

C1. This attractive tower, which dates to 1935, serves two purposes:  It is a bell tower and it is the chimney for a fireplace that is in the church sanctuary.

C2. These two fieldstone sided buildings, which no longer serve their original functions, are in Isabella Co., Michigan.  The former schoolhouse (left) now serves as a residence;  the small stone structure (right) originally served as the base of a windmill that was used to charge batteries that provided light for the residence and other buildings at its location.

C3. Chimneys that are included in this composite serve to represent the many diverse stone and mortar parts of buildings.  Those shown are only four of more than a score of stone and mortar chimneys, photographs of which are shown in the three main references.  Attention is directed to their diverse shapes, the fact that the one on the left is on a garage rather than a residence, and the one on the right once served a fireplace that heated a home but now is used only as an outdoor fireplace. 

C4. Walls are of several kinds;  their nomenclature is based on such things as content and/or function -- see the summary in the introduction to this group.  The above are only examples of several of the diverse walls for which photographs and descriptions are given in the three main references.  Top:  Left, dry-laid wall;  right, wet-laid wall.     Bottom: Left,  freestanding decorative wall;  right, retaining wall (also, in part decorative). 

barbecues Fieldstone buildings
Photo:  Fieldstone buildings, p.63.
bell tower
 See above text. See Fig.C1 &  Straits' Stones+   --  search word    bell     or     Hulbert .
bridges and bridge abutments
 See above text. Photo:  Isabella's Stones, p.116 & 117.
cisterns Isabella's Stones  Nothing new 
corners of buildings:  Two kinds --
         1. predominantly stone-sided
  and   2. other sided (e.g., log)
 See above text. Photos:
           1.Examples of diverse arrangments of stones at corners of predominantly stone structures are shown on-line in Straits' Stones -- e.g., p.21, 22 & 28 (pages of CONDOR version).
  and    2. In Straits' Stones+  --  search word    Corners . 
dams Isabella's Stones  Nothing new 
diverse buildings 
Stones ... p. 100
 See above text
See Fig. C2 & Isabella's Stones, p.31 & 89.  Additional photographs of several buildings, which include one or more of the 50+ functions that are noted in the introduction to this group, are included in the three main references.  An especially noteworthy residence, not in Isabella or Mackinac counties, is shown in Straits' Stones, p.173 .
diverse parts of buildings -- e.g., chimneys, foundations, and porches
Stones ...p.100 
 See above text.
See Fig.C3. Three other chimneys that once served indoor fireplaces and now are outdoor fireplaces are in Isabella's Stones, p.67 and Straits' Stones, p.74, 76.   Also, photographs and descriptions of  several other stone and mortar parts of buildings, are in the three main references..
exposed aggregate
Stones ...p.101 Photo: see Isabella's Stones, p.121.  
fireplaces -- both in- and  out-doors
Stones ...p.100 Photos:  Several are in Isabella's Stones -- e.g., p.67-68 & 123 and  Straits' Stones -- e.g., p.67-71, 73-79  &  138-140.      
Stones ...p.102 Photos:  It is said that one is about 25 miles from where I now spend much time;   to date, I have not found anyone at home when I went to see and photograph it.  For now, see the patio pavements photos cited in the third entry below this one.    
hearths and backsplashes for stoves Straits' stones Photo: see Straits' Stones, p.72    
Isabella's Stones and
Straits' Stones
Photos: See, for example, Isabella's Stones, p.130  and Straits' Stones, p.150, & 152-155. 
patio pavements
Fieldstone buildings and  Straits' Stones Photos:  Many of these have no mortar;  some have small stones -- e.g., pebbles or "pea-gravel" -- between the larger stones -- see Fieldstone buildings, p.127 and  Straits' Stones, p. 99.
Straits' Stones Photo: Straits' Stones, p.66.
pillars and posts  See above text. Photos:  See Frontispiece, a mile post.
     Other examples are:
                         Decorative ... - Straits' Stones, p.111 &171                              
                         Hitching post - Isabella's Stones, p.127
                         Lane sides ... - Isabella's Stones, p.135 & 136
                         Light bearing -  Straits' Stones, p.111 & 112
                         As mailboxes- Isabella's Stones, p.128
     AND, for those "supporting" roofs, see Fieldstone buildings, p.7, 84 & 131 and Isabella's Stones, p.64 & 114.
railings -- e.g., of porches
Isabella's Stones Photos:  Many of the photographs of  houses in the three main references have porches, some of which have rather diversely
    shaped railings -- e.g., Fieldstone Buildings, p. 23, 69, 76, 99 &115 and Isabella's Stones, p.63.   
roads -- "cobblestone roads" --
      i.e., those that include mortar.
 Addenda-Other...14    < See
shore protection Stones ...p.102 Photos: See Fig.M2 in the Miscellaneous... group;  some of these kinds of structures consist of stones AND mortar.
stepping stones and stair fronts  (risers)
 Addenda-6/B2004,  5/2006,  7/2004
Photos:  Fieldstone Buildings, p.79;  Isabella's Stones, p.93 - (?!!); and Straits' Stones, p.66.
walkways Stones ...p.101 Photos:  Straits' stones, p.102.
walls  (non-building part kinds)

Stones ...p.101     
 See above text.
See Fig.C4.   Photographs and descriptions of several additional walls, both  wet-and   dry-laid -- and including those serving as buttresses, culvert headers, lane sides, and retaining walls  (e.g., ramp sides) -- are in the three main references.
well and reservoir linings
Isabella's Stones &
  Straits' Stones
 Nothing new   
    --- etc. ---   An interesting structure of  unknown function  See above text &
  Straits' Stones
Photos and a sketch are on-line - see Straits' Stones, p.40-43.


        Most of the uses of this group involve loose stones.  Some of these uses, however, have involved stones that are bound by mortar as well as loose stones;  this is especially true of stones that are featured in multistone landscapes (and, of course, wateerscapes).
        Short descriptions that a few of the uses listed in this tabulation seem to warrant follow:
             Borders/boundary markers:  Rows of stones occur along the sides of driveways, parking lanes and areas, and mark other diverse boundaries.  Depending upon one's opinion, the stones used with these related roles may or may not include driveway "dots" and boulder deterrents -- see Straits' stones, p.89-95.   On the other hand, it seems best to consider the stone borders of such things as flower gardens as landscape accents (q.v.).
            Conversation pieces:  Several stones warrant being so-identified;  they include stones of historical interest (e.g., the Stone of Scone), stones that resemble something (e.g., mimetoliths -- see Objets... subgroup) and some paperweights and doorstops (see Weights group).   Some stones of this sort have been included in stone structures (e.g., walls of buildings and fireplaces), apparently with their purpose exactly as indicated by this designation given this subheading -- i.e., to lead to conversations.
            Cribs ...  (i.e., those used to anchor wooden docks):   Although many of these are filled with stones -- i.e., "hard heads" (e.g., glacio-fluvial boulders that are roughly headsize) -- several are filled with similarly sized quarried rock.  Only the former are belong in this compilation of uses -- again, see the definition of Stone given in the introduction.  Most of these cribs are put atop wooden bases (floors) and are held in place by the vertical wooden sides of the docks.  As noted, the role of these cribs is to hold the docks in place;  they are especially common, and needed(!), in areas where the surrounding water freezes and thaws each year.  This designation -- i.e., cribs -- is also used, at least locally, to include stones and/or rocks that are used as stable bases for such things as fence posts and even the posts of utility lines in areas where those posts cannot be buried, at least not deep enough, to make them stand upright for any required or desired length of time. 
             Footbridges:    1. The term clapper bridge is sometimes given these bridges -- see (Addenda - 6/B2004).
                                  2. The first "footbridge" that I heard described (in the 1930s) has recently been referred to as only local folklore by Percianccante (2003) -- see Addenda - 3/2/2015.  Be this true or not, that "bridge" was said to have consisted of stones the tops of which were slightly below the surface of the Indian River near Theresa, New York, and early Mormons were said to have used it/them to "walk on water," ... etc.
           Landscape accents:  Unlike most of the uses given in this overall group, virtually all Lsandscape accents that consists of stones can consists of either loose stones or stones that are bounded (e.g., -- by mortar) Or both(!).  Some of these accents are just that -- i.e., strictly decorative;  others serve to hide something -- e.g., well access pipes and irrigation valves;  yet other have so-to-speak additional roles -- e.g., benches and birdbaths.  Relatively common landscape accents that utilize stones follow:
                      Benches, birdbaths, boulder entities, borders/edgings (e.g., of planted areas), collections, display frames, driveway "dots," "dry creek beds," floors and paths, fountains, groundcover, lazybeds (see Addenda - Tools...6), pillars, planters, pond basins and margins, rock gardens (i.e., rockeries), stepping stones (see Addenda - 6/B2004, 7/2004, and 5/2006), stones atop stones, terrace borders, water falls, well housings (especially "wishing wells," many of which are faux -- i.e., not associated with any source of water), and wheelbarrows loaded with stones.  In addition, several small stone-sided buildings seem to have been preserved, and in some cases had their apprearances modified, and thence become, at least chiefly, landscape accents;  an example is the smokehouse shown in Isabella's Stones (p. 6).  Photographs and, for many, descriptions of one or more of most of these features are included in Fieldstone buildings, Isabella's Stones, and Straits' stones and their updates.                         
               Prominent "ads" ... :  The placing of boulders, typically relatively small ones, so they outline the shapes of letters (etc.) has a long history.  These arrangements are used with such diverse purposes as:  to advertize something;  to give the name of a school or one of its teams for which students and/or fans have special pride; and to be a message -- e.g., the GOODBY shown in the last episode of M*A*S*H (Yes, I was a fan!).
                                 The stones of most of these displays have been painted -- commonly white or with, for example, the colors of the school whose fans made the displays.  Nearly all of these displays are large -- i.e., the background areas include several square feet.  Most have been put in places so the display will be quite obvious to bypassers.
                                   Some people seem to think that this use is just an example of  the "arrangements including piles" use that is given in the subgroup Objets d'art.  So be it.  
              Walls:  Considering the fact that stone walls may or may not include mortar, the walls included in this tabulation have essentially the same roles as those given in the introduction to the preceding Construction group.
           "Whiskey stones":  Most of these that are marketed are not stones as defined for the coverage of this document;  they are, instead, cubes or discs made from rocks such as soapstone.  However, it is said that granite pebbles have been so-used, at least in the past, by Scandinavians;  and, knowing the proclivities of some of my Norwegian friends, I suspect such use was not all that rare, and may even continue today.  The use involves keeping one or more small "stones" in a freezing environment -- e.g., out of doors in season or in an icebox or freezer part of a refrigerator -- and then putting them in whiskey to cool it without diluting its original content, which is the desired result -- i.e., the preferred alternative to using ice that "waters down" the whiskey.
              --- etc. --- :      1. Now and then, especially during the last approximately half century, entrepreneurs have sold stones -- for the most part pebbles -- with all sorts of "catchy" names and so-called attributes.  Examples are "Indian Weather Rocks", "Pet rocks,"  "Rock stars," all of which are stones rather than just pieces of rock.  (Stones ...p.111)  See also "Scholar's stones" in Health tabulation.
                                          2. A so-to-speak begetting of stones by certain stones is a most interesting phenomenon.  See the information about "De Amersfoortse Kei"  in "Stones ..." (p.115).  This "use" reminds one of what is said to be the desired result of placing one or more false eggs in certain places in chicken coops.        

M1. L1. Boulder (~ 15 x 7 x 6 feet), that is a Landscape ACCENT(!!!) in Isabella Co., Michigan. [Cited dimensions are maxima for width, height, and front-to-back  for the boulder as shown;  The boulder is said to have sunk "a good foot" into the ground since it was brought into this yard. ( Isabella's Stones... p.84 )]

M2. Stones have found several uses in and along shores of bodies of water.  The photographs in this composite show examples of such uses. The upper left crib-bearing docks and the lower left dock and offshore breakwater are in Lake Huron;  the lower middle shore-protecting boulders are along the Upper Peninsula side of the Straits of Mackinac;  the upper middle and right gabion pair and the lower right shore-protecting boulders are along the shore of Brevort Lake in Michigan's Upper Peninsula.  Descriptive captions for these photographs are given in the on-line copy of Straits' Stones, pages 134 & 131;  128;  and 130 & 128, respectively. 

M3. Stones as "posts":   Need and what is available are frequently "the mother of invention ..." and, if fulfilled, "the answer to one's prayer'."  This "fence," which consists of field stones as its "posts" and a debarked cedar log as its rail, serves as a rather appealing landscape accent as well as marking the border of the residents' driveway.  ( On-line source of composite: )

M4. Landscape accents -- These, two of my favorites, are near Lake Michigan (top) and Brevort Lake (bottom).  [Their special appeal relates to their being unique and their including stones that represent so many modes of formation -- Petrogeny!!.]

M5. A complementary parking brake -- "Safety First!"                   

     MISCELLANEOUS USES                                                                                                                         
abrasive -- surfaces of pebbles that are used to rub, and thus "polish" unbaked pottery Stones ...p.107  Nothing new
Stones ...p.105   Nothing new 
blinds for hunters Isabella's Stones    < See
Self-explanatory (previously not listed)
breakwaters and jetties
Straits' Stones See Fig.M2.
borders and boundary markers
 See above text. Photos.   Isabella's Stones, p.97 & 154; and Straits' Stones, p.89, 114 & 172.
Some pillars (q.v.) also serve this purpose.
boulder entities -- see >>
Isabella's Stones
See Fig.M1 & Isabells's Stones, p.112 and Straits' Stones, p.152-155.  Individual boulders serve diverse roles -- e.g., cobbles atop them serve as landscape accents; addresses etc are given, sometimes on plaques, mounted on boulders;   some "great big granite boulders" placed next to highway(S?) in Nevada, and  paid for by Federal Highway money, received some interesting press in 2011 (Darling, Brian. 14 Sept.2011. The Daily Signal).
clappers -- e.g. for cowbells
Stones ...p.107  Nothing new 
conversation pieces -- see also  teaching aids,
 See above text. Photos, examples only:
                      Collection - Fieldstone Buildings, p.136 and Isabella's Stones, p.104
                      Mimetoliths - See Fig.O3 in Objets ... subgroup
                      Teaching aids entry - see below.
cribs for docks

cribs as stable bases -- e.g., for poles & fence posts
 See above text.

Stones ...p.100 &
  Addenda-9/2004, Other...11
See Fig.M2.
 Nothing new
deterrents to trepasssers -- including vehicles
[including "Anti-parking boulders" -- see Remarks for boulder entities (4 rows above)]
Stones ...p.102 &
Isabella's Stones
Photos: Isabella's Stones, p.119 and Straits' Stones, p.89-95.
"dingers"  -- e.g., in sleigh bells and gourd rattles (maracas) Stones ...p.107
 Nothing new
Straits' Stones See Fig.M2 & Straits' Stones, p.133.
drainage fields Isabella's Stones  Nothing new;  however, stones beneath faucets should also be thought of as examples, albeit small, of this use.  
drainage, other
         See >>
Stones, usually rather small pebbles, are put in the bottom of flower pots -- i.e., beneath potting soil or the like, to enhance drainage.  See also Objets d'art use "decorative mulch - NOT!".
driveway and pathway "dots" Isabella's Stones
Photos: Isabella's Stones, p.118 and Straits' Stones, p.91-95. 
dry wells
         See >>
Some of these holes in the ground, which facilitate drainage, are filled with stones, usually pebbles or cobbles plus sand.
erosion control of drainage ditches along roads Isabella's Stones
Photo: Isabella's Stones, p.120.
fence "posts"                                  
 See above photo. See Fig.M3.  On-line source is
fire circles
Isabella's Stones and
Straits' Stoness
See Fig.R2 (right) & Isabella's Stones, p.122 and Straits' Stoness, p.135-138
fish "reef" 
Isabella's Stones
         See >>
See description in Isabella's Stones, p.124. 
A closely related use of stones is widely characteriized as streambed and fish habitat restoration [See SPORTS group.]
foot "bridges"
 See above text.
"Bridges" of this kind are seldom visible in photographs --see description and remarks in the introduction to this group.
"frames"-- e.g., around old tools, birdbaths and flags
Stones ...p.102

Photos:  Most are parts of landscape accents (see below);  both those with and those without mortar occur.  Examples are shown in Fieldstone buildings, p.54; Isabella's Stones, p.95 & 106; and Straits' Stones, p.100, 104-108.
Stones ...p.103 See Fig.M2. & Straits' Stones, p.129-130.
ground cover -- including "garden (etc.) mulch"
Stones ...p.102; See>>
Photos:  Isabella's Stones, p.109.  The mulch aspect is questioned as detrimental vs useful by several people.
"heat storage" in cisterns
Stones ...p.105   Nothing new
heating -- e.g., water or soup
Stones ...p.94 & 104  Nothing new
landscape accents --MANY diverse uses!!!!
Stones ...p.102 &
 See above text.
See Fig.M4 & Straits' Stones, p.109 & 164.  Photographs and descriptive information about several other landscape accents that include loose stones are in the the three main references. 
legal tender
Stones ...p.111
The literature that I have read about the "boulders" widely cited as having such use on Yap is unclear.  Illustrations indicate that at least many of these "boulders" were quarried rock that was modified  (e.g., fashioned into roughly donut-shaped masses).  Some descriptions appear to indicate otherwise. Consequently, It seems quite possible that no stones (i.e., boulders), as defined for this web site, were used as legal tender on Yap.
markers -- bases for, for example, addresses and dates of construction
  Addenda-10/2005. Objets...5 Photos:   Fieldstone Buildings, p.130-133 and Isabella's Stones, p.103 & 136.
ore deposit location procedures -- i.e., tracing of  boulder trains
Stones ...p.114  Nothing new   [also listed in ANIMAL USES group]
pillow -- e.g., Jacob's (Genesis 28:18) Stones ...p.105   Nothing new
"plate" to eat from
Stones ...p.104  Nothing new
ponds -- for basins in toto or only their edgings
Isabella's Stones
Photos: Isabella's Stones, p.109, 110  & 139;   Straits' Stones, p.132. 
projectiles -- non-sports uses
Stones ...p.112 &
  Addenda-1/2009, 11/A2011,  Rituals 6 
 Nothing new
prominent messages, "ads," ...
  Addenda-Other...10 The one viewed in the M*A*S*H episode, mentioned in the introduction to this group, can be seen in many places on-line -- e.g.,,_Farewell_and_Amen
record keeping  -- e.g., by shepherds
  (number of pebbles = number of sheep)
   < See    [also in ANIMAL USES group]
roadcut protection -- to hold materials in place
Stones ...p.102  Nothing new 
roads -- "cobblestone roads" (i.e., those that do not include mortar!)
  Addenda-Other...14    < See
roofing pebbles Stones ...p.100  Nothing new
scientific indicator
 Addenda-12/B2006    < See
shore protection
Isabella's Stones
Straits' Stones
See Fig.M2.
"sitting room"
Stones ...p.105  Sketch:   "Stones ... p.106
source of rock (e.g., large bouldeas as small "quarries" and pieces of historic boulders for  "forget-me-not" pieces, paperweights, etc.)      
Rituals 1
   < See
Stones ...p.112
 Nothing new
soap dish add-ons
Stones ...p.107
            See >>
This use -- i.e., to enhance drying of the surface of  wet soap -- is so-to-speak echoed by the use of pebble bearing trays that are put in vestibules (etc.) where wet boots can be placed for drying.
supplementary parking brakes -- e.g., for vehicles parked on grades Stones ...p.84 See Fig.M5.
teaching aids
Isabella's Stones
See photo and sketch in Addenda 3/x2015 and the information and photographs given in Isabella's Stones, Chap. 7,    Sources of Fieldstones (esp. p.147-152) and Chap.9, Stones, Rocks ... (p.157-169).  In addition, shapes of stones and/or their orientations etc. have served as the basic data for several, typically statistically based, research projects. .  
total landscapes
Isabella's Stones
Photos:  Isabella's Stones, p.114 
trail markers    
Stones ... p.104 Sketch:   "Stones ... p.106 
walkways -- including patio and deck floors
esp.- Straits' Stones Photos:  Fieldstone Buildings, p.127 and Straits' Stones, p. 99 & 101.

 See above text. See Fig.C4 (CONSTRUCTION group). Also, photos and descriptions of several walls are in the three main references.  
weapons -- e.g., for catapults
  and as cannonballs
 Addenda-6/E2004. & ??--11/A2011    < See
weirs -- e.g., riffles
Isabella's Stones  Nothing new
"whiskey stones"
 See above text.           
   < See
          --- etc. ---
 See above text
   < See

Objets d'art   (i.e., uses of stones in arts and crafts)

             The above subheading, if interpreted rather broadly, seems an appropriate "title" to designate the uses of stones given in this group.  Loose stones, stones bound together by such things as a resin or mortar, and stones that are attached -- e.g., simply glued -- to some background are included.  Some of the resulting objects are usually used indoors;  others, out-of-doors;  most can be used wherever the owner chooses.  In any case, the "d'art" aspect is greatly stretched to include some of the listed items!!!

    A few of the uses on the following table are not included in either "Stones ..." or the below Addenda;  a few others also seem to warrant notes. These follow:
                          Decorative surfaces:  Several objects the stones of this group may be categorized on the basis of their typical place of use --
                                              Chiefly Inside:  Stone door stops* and paperweights*;  decorative "ballast" of aquaria and terraria;  surfaces of candles, flower pots, furniture  (e.g., small tables), lamp bases and vases;  loose stones in humidifiers+;  and wall hangings (e.g., mosaics); ... [Those followed by an asterisk (*) are also listed in the Weights group;  the one followed by a plus sign (+) is also  listed in the Health group.] 
                                      Chiefly Outside:    Birdbaths (several are, lamentably, rather strictly decorative -- i.e., not even with water), birdhouses, gravestones, large flower pots, fountains, mailboxes and urns.
                                   Inside/Outside (and certainly, it would seem, more decorative than useful, AND likely, if used as suggested,To Be Dangerous(!!!):  a recent (late 2016) marketing catalog, I believe (only clipping in hand), shows a mat covered with rather closely spaced  "Smooth river rocks [actually rounded pebbles and small cobbles] backed with ... fibers" with its suggested role as a floor mat for "entryways" but noted also for use "throughout the home."  The mats are also noted as being "theropeutic ... to relieve stress in ... feet."     
                      Gemstones:  A few minerals that are used widely as gemstones have been recovered as stones, typically rather small, from placer deposits;  some rubies and sapphires are examples of such Gem minerals.  Several gemrocks have been recovered from stones, some of which were large boulders;  agates from beach sediments, boulders of  jadeite and nephrite jade, and other rocks such as "jasper puddingstone" are examples of such Gemrocks.   In addition, it seems noteworthy here that gold nuggets and some industrial minerals also occur loose in unconsolidated deposits;  some of these are stones according to the applied definition, even though they are seldom designated as such.  
                       Identification bases:  Although some of these are far from attractive, at least in my opinion, all seem best to fit into this subgroup.  The "identifications" are exhibited on the surfaces of boulders here and there the world over;  they include such things as addresses, initials, logos, names (e.g., of businesses, people, streets, towns -- Addenda - 10/C2005 ), and symbols.  Such information is usually painted on or chiselled or etched into the prominent surfaces of the stones.  (See also the use of plaques -- noted under the Rituals and Miscellaneous headings). 
                                 On a different scale, the surfaces of pebbles, as well as pebble-size tumbled pieces of rock, have  been "doctored" in several diverse ways and marketed for such things as paperweights (see Weights group) and "worry stones" (see Health group).
                      Patterned masonry:  Some of the diverse patterns that result when, for example, discoidal stones are specially oriented, have widely accepted designations -- e.g., "classical herringbone arrangement" (see Isabella's Stones, p.5).  A few masons have gone one or more steps further:  They have chosen stones of certain shapes and color and placed them on surfaces of their buildings (etc.) so the stones resemble such things as butterflies, peacocks (Isabella's Stones, p. 50 & 58) and flowers (Fieldstone buildings, p.126). 
                     Subjects of and inspiration for "art":  Art is enclosed in quotation marks here to emphasize the fact that it includes literature, even poetry and haiku;  music and its lyrics;  photography; and, even such things as cartoons and "designs on T-shirts (Addenda - 12/2005 ) as well as paintings and sculpture, which for some people constitute the only "true art." 
                               Susan Robinson's articles about artists who have had minerals, rocks or stones as the subjects (inspiration!) for their work include noteworthy examples in the visual arts;  her articles, more of which are forthcoming, are in several issues of Rocks & Minerals.  [Susan, a fine artist herself, has illustrated stones in some well-accepted publications, and at least one of her depictions of stones is marketed as a jig-saw puzzle.  See also my paper (1990), especially Figures 2, 3, 9 & 12.]
                          --- etc. ---   Stones, for the most part pebbles and relatively small cobbles, have been marketed as, for example, parts of "fancy wooden match holders, each topped by a well-rounded pebble or small cobble to use as the striking surface." (Stones ...p.111)   In addition, stones have found use as such things as doorknobs and faucet handles (Addenda - Other...3  ) and, I presume, also as "pulls" on, for example, doors and drawers of furniture and cabinets.  Most of these latter stones have been polished, and those used for, for example, doorknobs and faucet handles have been mounted on the hardware required for their ready installation. 

O1. Left,  The stone work of this table and vase was fashioned by Mabel Pechta (dec'd), formerly of Moran, Michigan.  She arranged and fastened the pebbles to the table in the early summer of 2010, when she was 98 years old.  A brief description of the methodS she used is given in Straits' Stones, p.141.
     Right,  This framed hanging (22 x 40 inches) was made by Roxanne Powers-Tallman of Allenville, Michigan.  She made it as a memorial to her father.  A rather complete description of the piece is given in Straits' Stones, p.142.

O2. The above items consist of stones ranging in size from small pebbles to large cobbles.  Some of those in the birdbath and all of those of the flower pot to its upper left have been split and the split surfaces are exposed;  nonetheless, most people, not I, would not hesitate to call these stone ...  These examples are from Isabella and Mackinac counties, Michigan.

O3. Mimetoliths, which are sometimes referred to as an example of  Mother Nature's Art, include stones such as these.  All but the large one a part of which resembles a duck were found on beaches of Beaver Island in northern Lake Michigan.  They are seen to resemble, clockwise from upper left, the lower peninsula of Michigan, an oriental brush painting, Madonna and Child, an Oriental pagoda,  a duck (from a garden in St. Ignace, Michigan), and a potato head.  (These photographs, not to same scale, are from the Mimetoliths web site on this URL)

  O4a. Mandala Stones" painted by Elspeth McLean.  Several additional examples of these stones may be seen on the web site!mandala-stones/c3u4.  (photograph © Elspeth McLean, reproduced here with her permission).

  O4b. Paperweights for friends.  Left, A local beach stone, from Beaver Island, in northern Lake Michigan, painted and inscribed by Michele Szok for my wife, Frances, while they were at the CMU Biological Station;  Right, A stone from Grand Marais, Lake Superior, Chippewa Co., Michigan, painted by Sue Onge and given to her sister, Lana Lennington, who uses it in the In-Out box at the drive-in window of the eastern branch of the First National Bank of Saint Ignace, in St. Ignace, Mackinac Co., Michigan.         

O4c. Another paperweight:  One I have used for more than 50 years (i.e., since 1960).  We got it near where my great-grand parents -- Johannes Dietrich of Därligen and Elizbeth Stuki of Oberdiessbach (both in Berne Canton, Switzerland)  -- lived before coming to America in the mid-1800s.  The stone, apparently picked up along one of the mountain of that area, was painted by a Basel-based native. [1"diameter"  ~4 ¼ inches]

O5. This stone-plus creation is in front of a walkway between a storage shed and a country residence that are on a rather large lot where literally hundreds of stones comprise parts of diverse landscape accents.  With a modified jasper puddingstone as its focus, the creation serves not only as a unique decorative addition to the grounds, but -- according to Mallory Burkolder, who fashioned it - also as a barometer.  For more information about the physical makeup of the piece, see Straits' Stones (p.143);  for information about its role as a barometer, I suggest that you contact Mr. Mallory.

See also Figure Ap1 in the Appendix.

      Objets d'art
arrangements --  possibilities are limited only by the minds of their creators
Stones ...p.109
   see also 10/2003
Some boulders are placed atop other boulders (see Isabella's Stones, p.112).  Collections -- e.g., those shown in Fieldstone Buildings, p.136; Isabella's Stones, p.104;  and Straits' Stones, p.147 -- might be included here by the persons who made them.  On a different -- typically smaller --  scale, stones of appropriate shapes  and sizes  have been put together to resemble such things as human feet.  Several especially interesting arrangements, referred to as sculptures, created by Syrian Nizar Ali Badr, are shown on ;  another, quite different, arrangement is shown on  < both last accessed 3 November 2015>
attractive displays -- e.g., in colorless glass containers
         See >>
Stones of certain colors and/or shapes are put in colorless containers -- e.g., flower vases, with or without the flowers. 
"Balancing stone of English Bay"
   < See
bases -- e.g., those upon which sculptures are placed
Stones ...p.108
 Nothing new
"contemporary art"  -- i.e., the stones as such
   < See
crochet bases
         See >>
See, for example, .
decorative mulch - NOT!
Pebbles are frequently put on top of  the potting soil of plants to give the arrangements some desired appearance;  the  sizes, shapes, and colors of the stones clearly indicate that their role is strictly decorative -- indeed, in some marketing catalogues, a point is made that the stones that are shown beneath the potted plants will be included (!).  [This use, frequently used in combination with the "drainage, other" use (see below), has led to what I call "left-headed stone sandwiches."]
decorative surfaces -- see lists
in preceding text:  mainly for indoors:
                              mainly for outdoors:
See above text.
See Fig.O1 &  Straits' Stones, p.141,142 and  Isabella's Stones, p.65.

See Fig.O2 & Isabella's Stones, p.124 and Straits' Stones, p.143 & 144.
drianage, other
         See >>
Stones, most frequently pebbles, are put below potting soil to facilitate appropriate drainage/distribution of water.
          [This use is also in  MISCELLANEOUS USES group.]
foci -- i.e., "natural art pieces"  -- e.g.,

and stones promoting nostalgia
Stones ...p.108 & 110
1/B2003 & Objets...3
See Fig.O3.  Four others are noteworthy:   Two are in a loose stone quasi-foundation (Straits' Stones, p.58);  the others are included in a building wall (Isabella's Stones, p.57).  See also "contemporary art" entry of this tabulation.
                   [An aside:  An on-line source of photographs and information about several additional mimetoliths is
Re nostalgia, see Fig.W2 -- in Weights group. 
furniture  --e.g., surficial covers (veneers) on ...
Straits' Stones
See Fig.O1, table on left.  
garden accents
   < See
gemstones -- i.e., source of these
See above text.
 Nothing new
glass globe ("snow" bearing ones) -- the contents
   < See
gravestones --  monuments & markers
 See remarks in >
Photo:  Isabella's Stones, p.126   
identification -- i,e,, bases for
See above text.
    < See
jewelry -- e.g., as pendants, parts of necklaces and bracelets
Stones ...p.93
 Nothing new;   those used without drilling are held in such things as crocheted "bags," wire wraps, ... or attached "hardware," which, in turn, can be easily added to chains, etc. to constitute the jewelry.
          See >>
Stones are used as all or some of the hanging objects of some mobiles.
molds -- in production of faux stones
   < See.  And, these faux stones are used for, for example, siding, stone-skipping, and diverse Objets d'art.
monuments -- e.g., commemorative
Straits' Stones
Photo:  See, for example, Isabella's Stones, p.130;   Straits' Stones, p. 150 & 152-155;  and  Straits' Stpmes+ -- search words to use for this site:   Gateway   and    Fishermens' 
mosaics -- e.g.,  floors (both segments and whole areas), hot pads & place mats, picture frames, diverse decorative items, and wall hangings
Stones ...p.110
Photo of a mosaic wall hanging Isabella's Stones, p.65
   IF the term mosaic were applied broadly, illustrations and captions of the diverse so-designated endproducts with stones as their emphases could constitute a thick coffee table album.
mountings -- e.g., bases for plaques and diverse Objets d'art
Stones ...p.108
 Nothing new
musical instrument(s) -- the moving pieces inside
maraas and other "shakers"
         See >> >>             
Hollow gourds with included Stones can be used as maracas. 
                [  An Aside:  Slate pieces used as "xylophone" keys are NOT stones.  -- See Fig.Ap1.  ]
painted stones
         See >> See Fig. O4a. One especially attractive group of painted stones are created by Elspeth McLean of Salt Spring Island, British Columbia, Canada.  They are marketed as "Mandala Stones" -- many with adjectival modifiers that relate to their patterns and or colors -- e.g., Jewel Drop ..., Love Rocks ..., and Warm Tone ... versus Cool Tone mandala.  See also Fig. O4b & O4c..
paperweight "art"
         See >>
See Figs. O4b & O4c.  Stones that serve as paperweights or, in some cases, only as souvenirs or conversation display pieces are used widely as the surfaces upon which craft enthusiasts paint, sketch, write, crochet, paste (decoupage), etc. 
     The following web site:   provides examples for involvement, especially of young people, in such crafts.
parts of  multimedia "sculptures"  etc.
Stones ...p.110
 Addenda- 1/2008,
 8/2003, Objets...4,
 Objets...7  &
          See >>
See Fig.O5 & Straits' Stones+  main part!  [The CONDOR version has an overlay of another composite atop part of this composite -- I know not why!.]  See also "Sculpture by Randy ...", an addon on this web site.
      The "etc." includes concrete blocks with patterned open spaces into which stones that are chosen for  their colors and shapes, are mounted so they appear as highlights -- e.g., see those  in Fieldstone buildings, p.121 &122 -- and also such stones as those that include partial, form-fitted covers of such things as metal (e.g., pewter)-based "art" as well as the stones that involve decoupage and crochet, which are noted in the remarks column of the preceding entry.
patterned masonry
See above text.
raw material for sculptures  etc.
          See >>
Some end products, which are no longer stones as defined for this document, are extremely interesting so far as this Objets d'art group of stone uses.  Andy Goldsworthy's "Pebbles broken & scraped" and several of  Hirotoshi's "sculptures" are noteworthy.  Also, along this line, it seems prudent to note that the birdbath and flower pot shown on Figure O2 are not consistent with the uses tabulated in this document -- i.e., broken parts of stones are included.
settings for (i.e., as parts of) diverse displays
  -- e.g., in museums, store windows and even ad
             pictured in catalog and other advertisements.
Stones ...p.108 & 111
Photo:   Straits' Stones+  search term:    Window display.
subjects of and inspiration for "art" Stones ...p.109 & 114
See above text.

  <See !!!
Suiseki -- also called "viewing stones"
Photos:  A composite of four photos of these is in the Addenda, Chapter 5. on this web site -  search 11/F2002


         The uses in this group involve non-human animals, including birds, fish, shellfish and insects.  Some of the uses also involve humans but the roles of the non-humans seem to warrant also including these uses in this "additional group."
        The uses included in the two  --- etc. 1 ---  groups follow:  Those in the first group include an explanation and a reference web site where additional information AND references that record uses of stones by non-human animals can be read.  Those in thesecond group involve humans activities.  One reader of this compilation indicated that perhaps a third group should be included -- one that would include such things as the use of stones as the "clappers"  in cowbells, which is included in the Miscellaneous Uses tabulation. -- Not this time around.
                      -- etc. 1 -- :      Several examples of animals' using stones as tools are treated on  the web site http://en,  On that site, the uses of "tools" are indicated to fall into five categories:   Acquisition of food ..., grooming, defence, recreation and construction.  Each of these includes one or more observed example(s) that involved stones.  My summary follows (a with different name given the categories):   AMUSEMENT -- Crows and other birds and some domestic pets pick up stones, carry them, drop them, ...;  and, a few of these antics seem related to their hearing the sound emitted when the stones hit the ground, pavement, whatever. Another example of such "play" is given in the tabulation.   CONSTRUCTION -- examples:  Octopi use a stone to block entry into their dens;  wasps put stones around their burrows -- i.e., to conceal or perhaps just camouflage the entrances;  some ants cover their entrances with one or more small(!) stone; (see Stones ...,p.113 and Fig. A1., right.)   FOOD PROCESSING -- Several primates and mongooses have used stones as anvils and/or hammers to, for example, crack nuts, oysters and other shell fish in order to free their meat, and also to chop, for example, large fruit into smaller pieces;  wrasse (fish) use stones as anvils to crack bivalve's shells and also in a procedure that appears to be roughly similar to that used by Greeks to "tenderize squids" -- See tenderizing food ... entry in the HEALTH group.  In December of 2015, it was reported that Parrots have been found to use pebbles to grind, for example, shells to make calcium as a vitamin suppliment -- See 15/z2015 entry in OTHER USES group in second part of this web site.   GROOMING -- Alaskan brown bears have been observed while rubbing their faces with a stone during their moulting period.    WEAPONS -- Some primates have been recored to have dropped stones (e.g., over "cliffs") on to ..., rolled stones down grades toward ..., and even to have thrown stones at "enemies";  some of these stones were as large as small boulders.   MISCELLANEOUS -- Capuchin monkeys have used stones to dig and thus obtain tubers;  sea otters have used stones to "pry" abalone off their rocks;  elephants, apparently purposely, have dropped boulders on things not to their liking.
                   --- etc. 2 ---   It has been suggested that the following group of uses should be given in a table;  all but two of them are already included on one or more of the tabulations, and those two are only rather slight variants of the already tabulated uses.  Consequently, such an additional tabulation seems superfluous.  So, this entry is given here only to direct attention to the fact that some (i.e., the following) uses involve non-human animals as well as human activities.  Such uses can be briefly described as follows:  1. population control (see Stones ...p.82 [in Weights group]);    2. shepherds are recorded as keeping track of the number of animals in their charge by keeping pebbles, one for each animal  (Addenda-Other...1 [in Miscellaneous ... group]);    3. drivers of "mule-teams" pulling heavy combines over wheat fields ... kept buckets of pebbles by their seats ... for tossing on the backs of "lagging" mules (Addenda-Other...2 [projectiles (q.v.) in more than one group]);    4. stones used as the weights for tethers attached to animals (Stones ...p.84 [in Weights group]);    5. falconers sometimes use stones as purgatives for their birds (Stones ...p.93 [in Health group]);  6. boulders, some placed by man, are used as rubbing stones by, for example, cattle in pastures and bisons in wild grazing lands (Stones ...p.93, Addenda - 6/B2012 [in Health group]);  7. dogs' fetching and "playing with" stones thrown, even into water, by their owners (Stones ...p.114 [in Sport group]);   8. stones ad gravestones for pets (Addenda - 10/C2002 [in Ritual group]);    9. The cobblestones on the tarp that was placed on the body of Keiko (Addenda-1/2004 [in Ritual group]);  10. a "path" of stones and/or rock chips that "leads" to its rock- or stone-sheltered nest is used as a clue for finding rock wrens (Salpinctes obsoletus)  (Addenda-Other...9 [in Sport group]);   11. a rhythmic knocking together of pebbles is frequently used to attract yellow rails (Coturnicops noveboracensis) (Addenda-Other...9 [in Sport group]);   12. Two recorded "uses" related to camel husbandry seeem questionable (Stones ..., p.94-95 [in Health group]);    13. Another use that seems at least noteworthy here is given as the fish "reef" entry, which is in the Sport group;  it involves using stones to make those reefs and also to restore former streambeds and other fish habitats [in Sport group].


A1. Left,  A stone-based nest of a piping plover;  these, and a few other birds, tend to lay their eggs in "nests" that are either on or surrounded by stones.
      Right,  The larva of the caddis fly builds a case of pebbles (i.e., small stones) and other things that are held togther by a "silk" that the fly makes to protect its soft body.  According to Edward S. Ross of the California Academy of Sciences, who took this photograph, this critter's "ancestors were building such 'homes' at least 200 million years ago." (p.c., 1990).  

A2. Photo and caption to come  Rubbing stone for animals in pasture -- to find and take photo

A3. Photo and caption to come Dog (Lena?) after fetching stone -- to take after ice is out

amusement -- e.g., polar bears balance stones atop their heads
Stones ...p.114 See also  AMUSEMENT in --- etc.1 --- in the introduction to this group.
"anvils" --  e.g., sea otters break abalone shells on stones to get the meat;
Stones ...p.112 See also FOOD PROCESSING in --- etc.1 --- in the introduction to this group.
ballast for wind blown birds -- disproved!?!
Stones ...p.112   Nothing new
boulder train tracing by dogs
Stones ...p.115.   Nothing new
construction -- chiefly closing off entrances
 See above text
See CONSTRUCTION in --- etc.1 --- in the introduction to this group. .
display antics by chimpanzees    Addenda-4/A2008   < See
gizzard stones in birds' digestive tracts, especially those of large flightless birds
Stones ...p.93   Nothing new
"hammers" --  e.g., Egypitian vultures' use of stones to break eggs to
get the contents, and chimpanzees use stones to open nuts and fruits.
Stones ...p.112
  Addenda-4/D2008 and 15/z2015 in  Other ...
See also FOOD PROCESSING in --- etc.1 --- in the introduction to this group.
"hammer & anvil" in combination -- e.g., by gorillas
  Addenda-10/E2005 See also FOOD PROCESSING in --- etc.1 --- in the introduction to this group.
nest-building ritual of  Adelie penguins
Stones ...p.112   Nothing new
nest material and/or environment where nests are placed by some birds -- e.g., kildeers
Stones ...p.112 See Fig.A1
projectiles used by, for example, chimpanzees
  Addenda-4/C2008 See also WEAPONS in --- etc.1 in  introduction to this group..
"tools" (others) --  e.g., those used fo digging, prying, and destruction
 See above text
See MISCELLANEOUS in --- etc.1 --- in introduction to this group.
 See above text 
See WEAPONS in --- etc --- in introduction to this group. .
         --- etc.1 --- 
 See above text. See Figs.A1
         --- etc. 2 ---   uses involving humans;  there are several!
 See above text !!!
See Fig. A3 

  <>~ ~ + + & + + ~ ~


Text in preparation.

Ap1.  The art widely known as music has been my favorite art since the 1920s; The keys of a few glockenspiel- and xylophone-like instruments consist of pieces of rocks -- e.g., slate -- and are characterized as "lithophones"; my choice would be "petrophone." This one, shown when the pitches were being checked -- has pieces of slate as its "keys";  two slate pieces, which will be the E &; F# above middle C, are yet to be found and placed in the space where the mallet is;  when these two are found, this petrophone will consist of a G Major diatonic scale plus five.  Strictly speaking, these slate pieces are not stones;  they did not become loose as the result of natural processessz (i.e., they were quarried);  I collected them, because they rang when tapped, from a discard pile at one of commercial quarries near Arvonia, Buckingham County, Virginia.  (cf. Fig. S2)   [For an interesting article that relates similar uses of rocks and stones, see Quenqua (2014) and the "related" cartoon by Barett (2014);  and Dietrich (1995, p.107).]
[[[   Note: Later stage photo(s) To Come. ]]]

Ap2. This decorative "stone" consists of         .   It has a realistic look that has, I suspect, made most of those who have seen it near the entrance to a hair salon on Lake Brevort not even to question its being anything other than a carved-plus loose fragment of one of the nearby limestone or dolomite formations.  Gloria Weber, owner of the salon, kindly gave the piece to me in 2017. 

!!! Take Care !!!

  [[ Special THANKS to Helge Th. Kittelsen, for granting permission to reproduce his father's (Theodor Kittelsen) famous sketch of the rubble-eating knave.]]

END of Part 1

     R.V. Dietrich © 2017
     Last update: 23 March 2017

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~ ~ & & + & & ~ ~

"Stones..." Addenda*
Last update: 2 January 2017


*Several readers of "Stones: Their collection, identification, and uses, especially the chapter describing the uses of stones" – which has gone through two English-language editions, a number of printings, and also a Japanese translation -- have sent me suggestions for possible additions and revisions for future editions. The comments and information that seemed especially noteworthy prompted preparation of  a web site "Addenda."

This Addenda includes items that appeared to require elaboration and/or modification of the last edition of the hard-copy book plus additional items (mostly uses) to which my attention has been directed. The additions are preceded by the date, month and year, of each addition to this web site -- e.g., Added-10/2000. 

This web page will be updated continually.  Future additions are anticipated because history indicates readers will continue to send me information that will warrant recording.

David Ginsburg, Reference Librarian, of the CMU library found the correct citations for several of the references.  Richard Smith Dietrich, then Director of the Lay Institute, of Columbia Seminary reviewed the manuscript and made suggestions that led to the improvement of the first -- 2003 -- version of this addenda.  I gratefully acknowledge these contributions.

The following bits of information are given in the order in which each relates to the content of the indicated chapters (etc.) of "Stones: ..." (2nd edition).

X (page preceding the Introduction)

        Although several people have thanked me for finding Pär Lagerkvist's most appropriate statement, which I selected for this position, our daughter thought, when she found the following on a calendar on my birthday, that it should be substituted or at least added here:

"As you continue to build your relationship with stones,
 be aware of the stones around you when you are out walking.
  See if one calls to you.  If it does, pick it up and hold it. 
See what you can learn.
If there are no stones where you walk, get a bowl full of stones for your house or apartment."

CHAPTER 1. Introduction

CHAPTER 2. Places Where Stones May Be Found

Added-6/2012x. See page 27 et seq.: --  More should have been said about glacio-fluvial deposits -- i.e., those stones carried and deposited by streams arising within glaciers while they are melting.  These streams have deposited many of the stones that have been used for many purposes.  See, for example, Dietrich, 2008 and 2010..

Added-5/2006. See page 34: --  A remarkable boulder, which I have seen only in photographs, is noted as "Kjæragbolten, a peculiarity of glacial erosion in the mountain cliff 1000 neters above Lysefjorden" along with the fine photograph on page 31of the first circular for the International Geological Congress to be held in Oslo in 2008.  This boulder, which is near Stavanger, Norway, appears to have had a so-to-speak dual origin that involved the preceding (Glacial deposits) and succeding (Residual boulders  ...) categories given in this chapter.  Photographs of the boulder are on several web sites as well as in the cited circular.

Added-10/2003. See pages 36-38 and Figure 2.16 - Concentrations in Patterned Ground: -- A recent publication by Kessler and Werner (2003) attributes these features to "freeze-thaw cycles" that occur for the most part in high alpine and polar environments.  They state that their models support formation  of these stone "circles, labyrinths, ... islands, ... polygonal networks, ... [and] stripes," as consequences of so-called  feedback mechanisms, which they describe as as self-organization of sorted patterned gound.

Added-5/2005. See page 40 and Figure 2.19 - Rafted Stones: -- Recently while rereading parts of Charles Darwin's  "The Voyage of the Beagle" --  title given in version I read, which is on the internet, URL  -- I found the following in Chapter 20: 
                 "A few miles north of Keeling [of Keeling (also called Cocos) Islands] there is another small atoll, the lagoon of which is nearly filled up with coral-mud. Captain Ross found embedded in the conglomerate on the outer coast, a well-rounded fragment of greenstone, rather larger than a man's head: he and the men with him were so much surprised at this, that they brought it away and preserved it as a curiosity. The occurrence of this one stone, where every other particle of matter is calcareous, certainly is very puzzling. The island has scarcely ever been visited, nor is it probable that a ship had been wrecked there. From the absence of any better explanation, I came to the conclusion that it must have come entangled in the roots of some large tree: when, however, I considered the great distance from the nearest land, the combination of chances against a stone thus being entangled, the tree washed into the sea, floated so far, then landed safely, and the stone finally so embedded as to allow of its discovery, I was almost afraid of imagining a means of transport apparently so improbable. It was therefore with great interest that I found Chamisso, the justly distinguished naturalist who accompanied Kotzebue [citation - Kotzebue's First Voyage, vol. iii.], stating that the inhabitants of the Radack archipelago, a group of lagoon-islands in the midst of the Pacific, obtained stones for sharpening their instruments by searching the roots of trees which are cast upon the beach. It will be evident that this must have happened several times, since laws have been established that such stones belong to the chief, and a punishment is inflicted on any one who attempts to steal them. When the isolated position of these small islands in the midst of a vast ocean -- their great distance from any land excepting that of coral formation, attested by the value which the inhabitants, who are such bold navigators, attach to a stone of any kind [footnote - Some natives carried by Kotzebue to Kamtschatka collected stones to take back to their country.],and the slowness of the currents of the open sea, are all considered, the occurrence of pebbles thus transported does appear wonderful. Stones may often be thus carried; and if the island on which they are stranded is constructed of any other substance besides coral, they would scarcely attract attention, and their origin at least would never be guessed. Moreover, this agency may long escape discovery from the probability of trees, especially those loaded with stones, floating beneath the surface. In the channels of Tierra del Fuego large quantities of drift timber are cast upon the beach, yet it is extremely rare to meet a tree swimming on the water. These facts may possibly throw light on single stones, whether angular or rounded, occasionally found embedded in fine sedimentary masses."

Added 11/2015  See page 23 - Beach Deposits (the following  is an add-on)  --  The stones used as anvils for, for example, acorns -- see Fig. T1 in the  "Uses ... " part of this web site -- led to a brief study of these stones that are widely referred to as holey rocks (or stones)The results of this study are given on  as #2. Holey Stones from Gros Cap, Michigan on the STONES -- Posers to Ponder sub-web site on this URL. .


CHAPTER 3. Origins of Parent Rocks

See Table 3.1, page 58 (1st edition, Table III, p.49): -- Readers' comments and questions indicate that this chart (see below) should have had more explanatory notes in order to make it more useful. Before considering that information, however, it seems prudent to note that most professional petrologists use a nomenclature scheme for igneous rocks that includes several more rocks and charts - see, for example, Dietrich and Skinner (1979). Nonetheless, anyone who properly uses this chart will be able to assign names to most phaneritic igneous rocks that agree with the names based on the more extensive "professional" nomenclature system. Consequently, this chart is a useful, rather easily applied alternative to the "professional" system.

Information, in addition to that given in "Stones ...", that should help anyone who tries to use this chart follows: 


The relatively darker and lighter areas -- i.e., the darker area left of and the lighter area including and right of the plagioclase feldspar area -- indicate typical percentages of dark and light colored minerals in the rocks listed under the phanerites heading. Along this line, however, note that within the plagioclase feldspar field, especially below the Ab50An50 -composition boundary, the plagioclases are typically dark gray (or bluish gray); this is indicated on the chart by the presence of fairly numerous dark dots and splotches.

The symbols within the mineral fields indicate their typical cleavages or fracture patterns -- biotite – thin elastic plates; hornblende – two cleavages at about 55 and 125 degrees to each other; pyroxene – two cleavages at approximately right angles (i.e.,90 degrees to each other); [and] quartz and olivine – conchoidal fracture. Despite the fact that both have two cleavages at or near 90 degrees to each other, no patterns are given in the alkali feldspars and the plagioclase feldspar fields. These feldspars are most easily distinguished from each other with the aid of a hand-lens. So viewed, some cleavage surfaces of plagioclase can be seen to exhibit parallel, extremely straight "lines" (which are the expression of polysynthetic twinning) whereas of the alkali feldspars only those that are perthitic exhibit lines, and those lines, although commonly subparallel, are better described as interdigitated. The overall pattern used for the plagioclase feldspar field on the chart was chosen to remind users of the parallel "lines."

An example:

Mineral Percent
biotite 10
hornblende 16
plagioclase feldspar 38
alkali feldspar 14
quartz 22

This rock would be a granodiorite.


CHAPTER 4. Uses of Stones

In "Stones: ...", it is stated that "This chapter records ... present-day uses of stones ... ways stones are currently used just as they may be picked up."  and that "persisting primitive uses, such as flailing clothes on stones to help launder them are not included."  I have been taken to task for those statements:  First of all, several readers have reminded me that boulders (other than small ones) are seldom picked up;  secondly, a few readers have chastised me as anti-third world countries (which I strongly deny) because of my disregard of uses I labeled as  "primitive".  In any case, several such uses of boulders and of what I consider persisting primitive uses were included in the book and additional ones are given in this addendum. 

In addition, at the end of this chapter of described uses, I included the following: "Do you know of other uses of stones?  If you do, I would greatly appreciate your writing to me about them." Apparently in response to that question and request, several readers, including Nobel Laureate Linus Pauling, sent comments about some of the described uses and directed my attention to uses not mentioned. Consequently, a few changes and the addition of more than two dozen uses appear in the second edition, and some more were given in the original Addenda on this web site.  Several more have been added later (as dated), and it seems likely that others will continue to be added in the future.

Rather than directing attention to the pages where these changes and additions would be made, they are given only under the same six broad subheadings used in the book - i.e., weights, sports, health, rituals, tools and construction, and other (formerly designated "miscellaneous") uses – plus two additional subheadings, both of which should have been used previously, objets d'art and man-made "stones".

Unfortunately, some of the cited references and attributions are less complete than I think they should be; this is so because some of the information was sent to me as clippings from unidentified newspapers, magazines and catalogs by people who did not identify themselves, thus precluding my contacting them to request clarification and/or elaboration, and searches David Ginsburg and I have made have led to the sources.


Weights 1   Feldman (1994) illustrates a group of seven stones, found at an archeological site in Syria, that are identified in the caption as "an early set of weights" used during the Stone age.

Weights 2   Stones are used to hold down leaves placed as "lids" on top of fermented breadfruit stored in stone-lined pits in Tahiti.

Weights 3   In the small town of Bjorke in the fjord country east of the Lofoten Islands of western Norway, residents resisted removal of the town's only phone booth, first by surrounding it with tractors and their bodies and later by hauling in four huge boulders and chaining them to the booth. -- This, according to an Associated Press Worldstream dated May 23rd 1997; and, see a follow-up AP release dated June 30, 1997. Having lived in Norway for two years, I had the urge to put this item under either the Sports or Rituals subheading. -- I strongly suspect that at least some of the people involved found their reactive efforts quite the sport and others a necessary ritual.

Added  9/2004  -   Some people may think it would be more appropriate to put this addition under either the Tools  and Construction or the Other uses suheading -- so be it -- cross references are given under each.  Roughly cylindrical rock cribs, most of which are 15 to 24 inches in diameter and two to three feet high are used widely -- e.g.,  in southeastern Oregon -- as stable anchors for fences.  Because of their weight, tension can be applied to wire (typically three levels of barbed wire) that is held in place by metal or rarely wood posts between these cribs. These cribs are needed because most of the intervening posts are in very thin mantle or directly on bedrock, which means they provide little if any stability.  The stones in most of the cribs consist of locally derived, large cobble- or small boulder-sized rubble and/or rounded stones.  


Added  10/A2002  -   F. Jerdone Coleman-McGhee, Guinness World Recordholder (38 skips) and author of "The Secrets of Stone Skipping," includes several interesting bits of information about stone skipping on the NASSA ( i.e., North American Stone Skipping Association) web site His words -- in part paraphrased, in part quoted, and not in the order given on the web site -- follow: Shakespeare and Homer wrote about stone skipping. . . . Eskimos skip rocks on ice and Bedouins, on smooth sand . . . .  In England, stone skipping is known as, "ducks and drakes"; in France, as "ricochet"; in Ireland, as "stone skiffing"; in Denmark as, "smutting"; . . . [indeed,] "every language I [Coleman-McGhee] have accessed has a unique word or term for skipping stones, from Hindi to Russian to Chinese." . . . Key formulas for how a stone skips are "classified" by both the American and the British governments. . . . [and, last -- but not least -- I (RVD) feel the need to include this one because our daughter has three shops on Mackinac Island and our son-in-law is manager of the Arnold Transit Company that ferries people back and forth between the island and both the lower and upper peninsulas of Michigan] "The granddaddy of all skip-offs is held every Fourth of July on Michigan's Mackinac Island."

Added   3/2003  -   A paper by Lydéric Bocquet (2003) in an analysis of stone skipping considers a group of  variables etc. with the stated purpose “to propose a simplified description of the bouncing process of a stone on water, in order to estimate the maximum number of bounces performed by the stone.”  Although his group of variables seems to lack probably important components, I suspect that anyone interested in stone skipping may want at least to scan this article.

See also the third Added  10/2002 entry under the Man-made "Stones" subheading.


Health 1   Two illustrations in the Detroit Free Press (December 13, 1997, page 11B) show a massage therapist in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan using stones in his treatments. In one of the photographs, the therapist has placed "rocks [quite obviously well-rounded cobbles] treated with hot lavender oil" on a client's head, chest, abdomen, and hips. In the other, a client's foot is shown with thumb-plus sized pebbles between her adjacent toes, and the caption indicates that this treatment is touted as beneficial in that such "toe treatment helps [the client] 'connect with nature.'" This latter use will, I feel sure, come as a surprise to historians familiar with reports that during the Spanish Inquisition putting hot stones between one's toes was a mode of torture.

Health 2   A somewhat similar group of treatments using basaltic cobbles and boulders in "hot-stone massage" is described and illustrated in People magazine (pages 147-148, November 1, 1999 issue). Eleven different procedures that involve the rubbing of superheated stones, presumably selected to "fit specific muscle contours to massage the body from scalp to feet," on people's oiled skins are noted as available at Carla Ciuffo's New York City spa. One of the treatments, termed "Hot Stone Reflexology," is said to "'open blocked energy pathways' by massaging pressure points on the feet." It also is noted in the piece that "hot-stone therapy . . . [was] used thousands of years ago by the Chinese to treat rheumatism and by Native Americans in sweat lodges . . . [and it] really works".

Health 3   Kits for creating desk- and table-top replicas of Zen Rock gardens are marketed as aids for maintaining the well-being of people's mental health. The kits consist of frames, two to six stones of diverse sizes and shapes, sand and a miniature rake. Possible results are described and illustrated to show that one can make units that resemble, and presumably exert influences similar those associated with, true Zen gardens -- i.e., "create oases of serenity" and thus "appeal . . . to both the meditative and creative" instincts of those who place the stones and rake the surrounding sand into the regular patterns, and also to those who observe and contemplate the results.

Health 4   An interesting pair of stones - one with angular projections from its surface (designated as male), the other smooth (designated as female) - called "miraculous Boji Stones," have been marketed along with statements to the effect that they have a balanced energy that will alleviate pain by anyone who holds them. "Printed background and instructions for healing" are, of course, included.

Added  6/A2004  -    Relatively porous stones -- e.g., those of volcanic tuffs -- are marketed as "Essential Stones" (the name apparently chosen because of the use of essence as applied to perfumes etc.) to absorb aromatic oils that upon evaporating add fragrance to ones environment. The marketed stones are sometimes colored "to match their aromatherapy qualities" -- e.g., blue for "goodnight sleeptight" stones (see   Also, diversely engraved cobbles called "Aroma Stones" are maketed along with the following descriptive text:  "In Ancient Cultures stones were highly valued, carrying great symbolism and life-giving potency.  Given as wishes for friendship, goodwill and well-being, they often changed hands many times.  Aromatic oils, cherished cross-culturally, combine with stone to make a gift that has been valued for millennia. Place one or two drops of essential oil in the symbol and set on windowsill in sunlight or under a lamp.  You can also warm the stone first and  then apply oil to release scent." (

Added  10/A2004  -   This use, which I just forgot to mention in the book, is added as the result of a review of photographs I took in Guatemala several years ago:   Natives in the northern part of the country are shown drying their just washed clothes by spreading them out on boulders along the streams in which they laundered them.  I suspect the drying process was rather rapid -- I know from personal experience that the surfaces of those boulders were rather hot even under the mid-morning sun.  I suspect, indeed feel sure, that this use of stones is relatively widespread here and there the around the world.  Considering the old saw "Cleanliness is next to Godliness," perhaps some people will think this addition should be under the Rituals subheading; and, others may think it should be under the Other uses catch-all subheading.  So be it.

Added  10/A2005  -   This use seems to fit not only in this category but also possibly into Rituals, Objets d'art?!? and Other uses.  As illustrated in the 17 October 2005 issue of "Time" (p.60-61 & 63) stones are used to demarcate the "Exercise" maze at Dr. Andrew Weil's home near Tucson, Arizona.  

Added  11/2006  -   Stones of diverse compositions, which are engraved with crosses, are widely marketed as, for example, "Cross Worry Stones."  And, stones with engraved words such as believe, charity, dream, family, friends, harmony, hope, inspire, love, peace, and trust, are marketed as "Faith Stones." 

Added  12/A2006  -   A recent inquiry about stone soup, posed  by Andrew H. Wulff of the Department of Geography and Geology, Western Kentucky University on the Mineralogical Society of America's "Talk" network,  led to  cautions  and diverse opinions that seem noteworthy here:   In the future a summary of those communications will be added here.  In the meantime,  it seems prudent to note that several mineral constituents of some stones are very likely to be toxic;  consequently, noone should put stones into anyone's soup unless (s)he is absolutely sure the constituents of those stones (rocks) are virtually inert.

Added  12/2007  -   A "reflexology rug," which consists of stones interwoven with hemp, "inspired by the ancient Chinese practice of cobblestone walking" -- that is recorded as continuing along cobblestone walkways and relexology parks -- is marketed for apparently walking barefoot in place to reduce stress,

Added  6/A2012  -   See the addition of this date about the The Seris,... under the following -- i.e., "Rituals" --subheading. 

Added  12/A2014  -   A rather long, feature article by Maurer (2014) describes the use of stones (inter alia) by a Reiki ("laying on of hands") practicioner in Albemarle County, Virginia.

See also the added entry:  15/z2015 in Other Uses group


Rituals 1    See page 96 (1st edition, p.81): According to a feature article in USA Weekend, the original Plymouth Rock was much larger than the one now exhibited near the shore at Plymouth, Massachusetts. Among other things, it is said the original boulder split in half in 1774; the halves were put back together and "1620" was chiseled into its top in 1880; it has come apart again and been stuck back together since 1880; pieces have been sold as paperweights and cuff links; pebbles and shards have fallen away; and tides have worn it smooth to give it its present appearance.

Rituals 2    Small pebbles constitute the moving parts of rainsticks, which are used in ceremonies to bring rain to the desert regions of, for example, western Chile. Such sticks are also sold the world over; the market seems to depend upon the fact that whenever the "sticks" are tipped over, the sound they emit (as advertisements state) closely resembles "the pitter-patter of a few rain drops and then the swoosh of a downpour . . . [and thus is of a] soothing, percussive nature." These characteristic sounds are produced by the pebbles' tumbling down through the inside of their so-to-speak cactus skeleton container. In essence, the "skeletons" are branches of Quiso cacti with their thorns pounded into the branches' hollow centers. To make the rainsticks, small pebbles are put into these "skeletons" with their inwardly protruding thorns, and then the ends of the branches are then sealed. - Voilà, the rainstick is ready for the above-described sound effects.   See also,  the "Added-10/2005B." about stones in  maracas under the Other Uses subheading. 

Rituals 3    Believers in Santeria ("saint worship") ha21992). Especially in the recent past, the number of these believers was increasing rather rapidly, especially in certain Latin and African-American communities in parts of Florida and California,

Rituals 4    Somewhat along this line, Specter (1994) reports that the Nenets, a nomadic tribe of reindeer herders of the Siberian Arctic, also believe that stones - for them, "stones with unusual shapes [-] are remnants of the gods who have guarded them for millennia."

Rituals 5    The use given in this paragraph is difficult to categorize; perhaps it fits better in, for example, the Other uses group. In any case, a photograph by Pauline Lubens that accompanies an article by Crumm (1993) shows a colorfully painted, softball-size boulder held by a young teenaged Palestinian, who calls it his intifada stone. The article, about the lad, records his involvement in activities, such as stone throwing in support of the movement to establish an independent Palestinian state.

Rituals 6    Another example of stone throwing, though certainly not as a ritual, is given by Rauber (1994), in a report of his trip through northern Ireland: He writes that he saw a "rusty notice on the pole, warning in both English and Irish that 'Persons throwing stones at the telegraph will be prosecuted.'"

Added   10/B2002  -   Rituals+!?!? -- Two sharply contrasting news items also relate to throwing stones -- throwing stones as a capital crime versus throwing stones as the punishment for a crime: The first, as reported in the Detroit Free Press in 1989, chronicles the sentencing of ten South African blacks to hang for throwing stones at a black policeman's home: the rationale was that their stone throwing caused the policeman to leave his home, which, in turn, led to his being assaulted and murdered by four other men. The second was the thrust of a feature article in a recent issue of Time magazine: Robinson (2002) describes inter alia procedures used when, for example, women who have committed adultery are stoned to death, whereas their male co-adulterers receive lesser (if any) sentences, in certain countries under Islamic laws.

Added  1/2009  -   The following from the Oxford English Dictionary (2nd edition 1989, Copyright © Oxford University Press 2008) seem appropriate additions to the above entry:
          "1968 New Society 29 Aug. 304/1 It is now frequent for British newspapers to record that during
            some riot or disturbance the crowd has thrown ‘‘rocks’’ (= ‘‘stones’’). 1969 West Australian 5
            July 1/1 Several policemen fell to the ground after they were hit with rocks. 1976 Billings
            (Montana) Gaz. 17 June 1-F/5 Ambulance services were suspended when mobs hurled rocks at
            the vehicles, injuring drivers. 1979 Observer 16 Sept. 1/1 The Belfast house of Mr Gerry Fitt,
            Social Democratic and Labour MP for East Belfast, was besieged by about 200 youths armed
            with rocks yesterday."

Added   10/C2002  -   Boulders have been used for gravestones for pets as well as for people (the latter is already noted in "Stones: ..." -- second edition, p.96).

Added  12/2002  -   Basaltic boulders constitute the outer walls of the ahu (altar) atop the highest point of Kaho`olawe, the relatively small island southwest of Maui, Hawaii. This uninhabited island, which has "become a symbol of the Hawaiians' struggle to reclaim their culture . . . [has been set aside by the state] for the preservation and practice of Hawaiian culture: prayers, chants, and offerings, as well as the restoration of altars . . ." (Theroux, 2002).

Added  12/2003  -   An illustration of a well rounded stone -- captioned "A rock that each member of the group caresses symbolizes strength and survival" -- highlights a cover story in the magazine section of the Detroit Free Press about chronic shoplifters who are trying to mend their ways by associating themselves with CASA (Cleptomaniacs and Shoplifters Anonymous).   Shine (2003) chronicles a meeting The participants gather around a table on which there is a basket of dollar donations and a bowl of small "rocks" and discuss their felt needs and past shoplifting activities;  at the end of the meeting, just "before they adjourn, David [a long-term shoplifter] picks a smooth rock from the bowl.  He silently hands it to each person in the group.  Each caresses it and gives it back.  David then gives it to Janet, who is attending her first meeting.  He tells her the rock was once a mountain, but was worn down by the hardships of wind and rain.  It endured to come out as a strong survivor.  She  is told to think of the group whenever she holds the rock.  With it in her hand, she is told, it will make it more difficult --- both physically and emotionally -- to shoplift ..."

Added  1/2004  -   To pay their respects, Norwegian school children placed cobblestones on the tarp placed on the body of Keiko -- the orca of “Free Willy” fame -- after he died December 12 (2003) in Taknes Fjord, in western Norway.  (Frances, my wife, and I, who got to “look Keiko right in the eye” while he was housed in his specially made tank at the Oregon Coast Aquarium in New Port, Oregon, were among those who have kept track of Keiko’s “comings and goings” and were sadened at his demise.)  For summaries of Keiko’s life story, see the web sites    and

Added  4/A2008  -   In statements about Chimp cultures and chimps throwing  rocks, Roach (2008, p. 137) notes: "Mahale males tend to throw rocks into water as part of their displays."  These "rocks," being loose, are of course stones.

Added  11/A2011  -   In "Time" (178(No.60):11) it is recorded that Omar Hamawi, a Syrian activist  stated: "[We] are ready to defend the city [Hama] with stones." 

Added  6/A2012  -   The Seris, an idigenous group, most of whom live near the east coast of the Gulf of Calilfornia in western Sonora, Mexico, put stones atop the sand and ash that was placed to cover the afterbirth of their babies (see photo in Rymer, 2012, p. 87).  Consequently, Seris born before hospitals became their common birth places "know the exact spot where" when asked a questions such as "Where are you from?". (ibid.)

Tools and Construction 

Added  6/x2004  -   To answer the question here (as it has been answered before during telephone converstions and by email):  It was just an oversight that I failed to mention the "Stone age" as such.

Tools...2   Feldman (1994) illustrates stones that exhibit grooves thought to indicate their use "to straighten the wooden shafts of arrows."

Added  1/A2003  -   in the past, some manos -- i.e., the hand-held "pestles" used for grinding corn and other grains on metates -- were stones fashioned only by weathering and erosion. That is to say, they were cobbles -- undoubtedly hand-picked because of their sizes and shapes -- rather than stones fashioned by man for such use.

Tools...4   Peach (1993), reporting on a lecture by John Halsey to members of the Michigan Mineralogical Society includes the following: "Prehistoric miners would find outcrops of the red metal [copper,] and with the help of hammer stones pounded on the soft metal until they could work up enough of a ridge of the metal to peel it off."

Tools...5   A monument that consists of thirteen large oblate spheroidal concretions is in the town of Arad in the Negev district of Israel (Sass and Kolodny, 1972). A colored photograph of this monument, which is more than three meters high, is given in Dietrich (1999).

Tools...6   Stones are used to build walls for "Lazybeds," a designation applied in Scotland to small beds of plants atop rocks and on steep hillsides, where the slopes are too steep to hold the supporting soil in place. Without such so-to-speak retaining walls, these soils, many of which are largely beach sand plus or minus interlayered seaweed tend to be lost because of down-slope erosion.

Added  10/x2002  -   Information about this use is already included in "Stones: . . ." (2nd edition, p.102, fourth full paragraph) and was also mentioned in the original addenda. As an update, attention is directed to the following three articles: "Get ready to Rock: Landscaping with stones . . ." by Nancy Szerlag (1997) is well worth scanning by anyone even thinking about such making such use of stones; "Why on Earth do so many people collect big rocks?" by Zachary (1995) may be of interest to entrepreneurs with pupillary dollar signs; [and] "If rocks were worth money, a hilltop farmer could get rich quick" by Granstrom (1995) is a tongue-in-cheek piece about such practices.

Added  11/2002  -   An illustration and descriptive note in National Geographic (1996) records the use of "centuries-old structures, called cleits, . . . once used by local people [on the recently abandoned Scottish archipelago of St. Kilda] to dry and store seabirds killed in summer for winter food supplies." The cleits, as ilustrated, appear to be relatively small sod-covered stone huts.

Added  6/B2004  -   A photograph in "Kids discover" (volume 14, issue 6) shows an example of large stones used for a clapper bridge.  The following description is included in the caption to that photograph: "England's Tarr Steps Bridge is a clapper bridge... (this designation is) is from the Latin word claperius, meaning 'pile of stones.'  The bridge ... (consists) of 17 huge slabs of granite with no binding material between them.  How  the stones got there is a mystery..."  Photographs of this footbridge -- which crosses River Barle near Winsford, Somerset, England -- are also  shown on a number of web sites (e.g.,  Additional so-to-speak stepping stones, per se, occur in several places.  A photograph of another example of stones placed for crossing a stream is on 

Added-3/2/2015   for thoughs about another  bridge of this general character, reported as being near Theresa, New York, see Perciaccante (2003).

Added  10/B2004  -   Women's use of round stones to crack argan nut shells in Morocco is illustrated and described in an article by Morse (2004) -- e.g., "It takes 15 to 20 hours--depending on skill--to crack enough nuts to produce a liter of oil";  the oil is described as a "rich and tasty hazelnut-like oil";  [and]  the trees that bear the nuts are said to "serve as an ecological bulwark against the further expansion of the Sahara in Morocco."

Added   5/2006  -   Difficult to categorize, this addition seems to fit best, though not all that well here:   The often used designation "stepping stone(s)" seems to me to most appropriate (could it ever be better applied?) for the photograph by Bill Hatcher in the article about the Grand Canyon of the Colorado "Below the Rim" -- see Roberts (2006, p.57).  

Added   11/B2011  -   An especially fine photograph of the walls and other structures made of stone at Hirta, St. Kilda of Scotland's Hebrides islands is in the article by Lynne Warren, with photographs by Jim Richardson, (2010, p. 72-73).  The girded areas included topsoil covered plots that "sheltered crops of oats and barley from salt-laden winds and grazing livestock,"  The other structures, most of which have roughly beehive shapes, "protected stsores of food ... [and] the dried peat that islanders relied on for fuel."

See also  the added entry:  15/z2015 in Other Uses group

Objets d'art +

Objets...1   Beach stones from, for example, north Atlantic beaches - apparently those of New Hampshire and of islands off the Maine coast -- have been hollowed out and marketed for use as flower vases and candle "sticks."

Objets...2   A beehive-shaped mass consisting of several scores of boulders picked up on his property is one of the highlights of a number of stone "piled" items, made by Maxey Tibbetts of Boothbay, Maine, and termed art forms in Yankee's Home Companion" (issue not given on clipping),

Objets...3   Since early 1993, Edna Hesthal of Santa Barbara, California and Tadao Okazaki of Hobara, Fukushima, Japan have corresponded with me a number of times and have sent me line diagrams, photographs, and copies of a couple articles to inform me about Suiseki. Called "viewing stones" by Hesthal, the definition for Suiseki given in a Japanese dictionary, as translated by Okazaki, is "A stone or a piece of rock for aesthetic appreciation. Usually displayed on a water-filled tray or a stand; [an] 'ornamental Stone'." Several of these stones, photographs of which were sent to me by Hesthal, resemble such things as panoramic landscapes (e.g., a mesa and a mountain area with active glaciers) and parts of or complete animals (e.g., the head of a seahorse and a bear). Anyone who is not familiar with Suiseki, and is interested in seeing published photographs of examples of the stones (and rocks), should look at the cover photos on volume 20, number 2 (Summer, 1986) of Bonsai: Journal of the American Bonsai Society, and on volume XXVII, Number 1 (January-February, 1989) of the Bonsai Clubs International. Many of the ornamental stones shown in the photographs are, by the way, good examples of stones for which the now rather widely used term mimetolith was introduced (Titamgim, 1989).

Objets...4   The book Stone by Goldsworthy (1994) illustrates some interesting combinations of boulders and other natural and man-made things such as leaves and flowers and scrap iron that I feel rather confident many people would accept as creative art.

Objets...5   The use of cobblestones for paper weights -- treated briefly in "Stones ..." (page 82; 1st edition, page 72) - has really "taken off" in the marketplace. Over the last few years, I have added clippings from catalogs that indicate these stones can be classified, at least roughly, into three main categories: 1) those into which words (etc.) have been engraved, etched, or sandblasted,  2) those that have been painted, and 3) others. Stones of the first group bear such words as Attitudes, Believe, Create, Dream, Hope, Imagine, Laugh, Love, Peace, Question, Think, Trust, and Wonder; and phrases such as My other rock is a diamond, Nothing is etched in stone, and You crack me up (on a stone exhibiting rather obvious cracks); also of this group are stones with personal monographs (one can get her or his own inscribed), national emblems, outlines of animals etc., and home addresses (commonly sand-blasted into relatively large boulders put in, for example, front yards). Stones of the second group include paintings of, for example, Native American fetishes. Stones of the third group, "others," comprises a really "mixed bag": Among those for which I have clippings are stones that include illustrations on their surfaces and brief descriptions -- e.g., a so-called Ichi stone, which bears an engraved Japanese symbol (presumably depicting a harmony of peace and tranquility) that is highlighted by gold leaf; a small stream-eroded cobble that has been polished, and "wrapped and tied with flowered rice paper in the sogetsu tradition"; several extremely colorful ones described as "Japanesque . . . [and noted as having their intricate patterns consisting of] handmade washi papers . . . coated with countless layers of lacquer"; etc., etc.

Objets...6   Several diversely conceived desk- and table-top fountains, some used as humidifiers, that are in the marketplace, have well-rounded stream and/or beach stones -- typically small pebbles -- among their components.

Objets...7   Although not a direct use of stones, it seems noteworthy that several painters and sculptors, both in the past and currently, could be added to those mentioned in both "Stones: ..." and by Dietrich (1989) as using stones as their subjects and/or components. Perhaps you know one or more of these artists.

Added  10/D2002  -   A note on a "Page-A-Day Notes" (8:345) sent to me anonymously states "The earliest known mosaics date from the eighth century B.C. and are made of pebbles."

Added  11/E2002  -   According to information given on about Suiseki  "The first known writings of viewing stones are by the poet Lo-tien from China during the years 773-846.   Later, Japanese paintings and block prints of the 12th through the 15th centuries depict many . . . suiseki. ...  [and]  "Over the following years, the Japanese formalized the art of  suiseki by naming various rock forms and creating precise ways to display them. [In addition] Stones of great beauty were cherished and placed in a Tokonoma (viewing alcove) to be contemplated. [because] It was thought viewing of suiseki helped stimulate the person, purify one's soul and uplift one's spirit."   Attention is directed to the illustrations on that site.

          See also  items numbers 1 and 2 under the Man-made "stones" subheading.

Added  1/B2003  -   "Scholar's stones" which range from from relatively sizeable boulders to small cobbles, from intricately weathered and eroded stones to relatively common stream- and beach- eroded stones, from mimetoliths to diversely shaped stones (i.e., "chunks"), . . . have recently gained popularity on the market, especially among the New Age set. Indeed, individual stones have sold at prices ranging from $50.00 to $50,000.00. Some interior decorators are said to be including such stones in their proposed decors. One aspect of people's wanting these stones is that they are said to inspire great thoughts. One recent purchaser is recorded as saying of his rock, which he keeps next to his bed, "It makes me think about life cycles and continuity of life." (Barnes, 2002)

Added  6/C2004  -   The "Balancing stones of English Bay" have been considered by some visitors to have "become one of the better-known sights of Vancouver [British Columbia, Canada] ... They looked quite 'impossible', and our first thought was that they were some kind of modern sculpture, with the stones being either glued together, or held in place by something like steel rods."  Actually, they were merely balanced in place, several quite remarkably(!!) -- see the photographs on ... / canada_balancing. html.

Added  8/2003  -   Small boulders hung in open spaces are the foci of  large sheet metal pieces handcrafted into such forms as Celtic crosses and roughly star-shaped masses that have been rusted.  The pieces are marketed for use as, for example, garden accents.

Added  6/D2004  -   Natural pebbles of diverse minerals and rocks are used as pendants.  Although many of them have holes made through them so they can be hung on ropes, thongs, or chains,  others are placed as is to become the foci of  wire wrap pendants -- see, for example, Figure B in the TEXTITES entry in the Gemrocks file.

Added  10/C2005  -   Natural water worn stream boulders engraved with such things as addresses are marketed widely, including in mail-order catalogs.

Added  10/D2005  -   Andy Goldsworthy's use of boulders and rubble in his creative art is described by Lubow (2005).  Special attention is directed to the fine accompanying photograph of Goldsworthy and his use of  irregular pieces of rubble, which appear to be slaty argillite in his "F arch in Scaur Glen, Scotland."   

Added  12/2005  -    Jamie J. Rice, an illustrator of Tucson, Arizona, says (p.c., 3 Dec. '05) the following about his stone-based depictions ("PEBZ") that appear on t-shirts and greeting cards:  "I enjoy finding human characteristics in natural formations like ...  stones.  When grouped together, smooth pebbles .... or river stones look to me like characters , some long, fat, skinny and flat."   (See

Added  5/A2007  -   "Garden-size stone cairns" that consist of six or more small cobbles and large pebbles are marketed for indoor or outdoor display.  The stones of these "cairns" are drilled  -- the top and bottom ones only part way through -- and "piled" atop one another on a steel rod;  all but the top and bottom one can be arranged in any oder the owner chooses.  (This product made me wonder how many people have  -- as I have -- made similar appearing arrangements of stones as is -- i.e.,  not drilled -- by merely balancing them or by more-or-less baalancing them and then putting super glue or some similar adhesive at their contact points to assure their long-term stability.  In addition, the advertizement for these cairns reminded me of three things:  the cairns our family saw here and there in Scotland and northern Norway some 50 years ago;  the one our "kids" and I added north of the Arctic circle in Norway;  and the fact that the NorCairn Press once published an anthology of my so-called poetry and haiku.)

Added  7/2007  -   I have been remiss in not mentioning the fact that several articles -- e.g., so-called garden walking stones and wall plaques --  have been fabricated with natural stones used to make the molds.  They consist of such diverse things as ground natural stones and substances such as manufactured resins.

Added  4/B2008  -   This entry  includes a correction as well as additional information.    Correction:  On page 97 of  "Stones:..." the designation "inuksuks" is used as the plural for inuksuk;  the correct plural, is inuksuit.  Addition:  People the world over apparently find balancing stone upon stone upon stone to be a fascinating activity.  Ahu (see Bourne, 2008, p.119), cairns and inuksuit --some historic, others contrived and perhaps best termed faux -- are well known examples.
Added  11/2008  -   Well-rounded beach stones, commonly stacked, are integral parts of so-called stone carvings the other parts of which are bent steel.  Examples I have seen include rather those that roughtly resemble frogs.
Added  11/C2011  -   "Pebbles from Venice, shaped by the sea  [along with pebble-size fragments of ???]  from Muzdalifah in Makkah, shaped 'by people's hands, sweat and desire over centuries'" are in the niche of the cube of the "The Black Arch" created by Raja and Shadia Alem  (Clark, 2011)   On the basis of  photographs and written descriptions of this creation,  in my opinion, is a magnificent  example of contemporary art,
Added   6/x2012  -   A so-called boulder -- actually a large (~340 ton) mass of granite that resulted from blasting in a rock quarry about 60 miles east of Los Angeles -- has been put atop a "walk-through trench at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.   The installation, called Levitated Mass, is a new work by artist Michael Heizer ..."  (Jaffe, 2012).
Added   6/B2012  -   Some glacially transported boulders that are perhaps best described as landscape accents are shown by Hoffmann (2012).  Included are one or more that are in New York City's Central Park;  adjacent to a parking lot in Mystic, Connecticut;  in the Colville Indian Reservation, Washington (state);  atop a jointed slope in Yellowstone National Park, California;  and Glen Rock, New Jersey. It is noted that boulders such as the one shown on the Colville Reservation are widely referred to as  "rubbing stones because bison scratched up against them,  [and] 'Leaverites' -- leaver'er right there -- is another nickname for erratics too big to move..."  (ibid.) Considering the preceding added information, one has to wonder if any boulder is really "too big to move."   IN any case, another interesting photograph in this article shows a large bolder, Yeager Rock, in central Washington (state) with years painted on it ;  part of its caption reads:  "Indians used to mark boulders with carvings.  Today's artists some of whom have immortalized the years of their high school graduations ... prefer paint." (ibid.)
Added  12/B2014  -   Some well rounded stones, glued atop each other, and then placed within a glass globe of the kind that also contains "snow" have gained a place in the marketplace.  "Shake the piece and watch  the 'snow' fall -- [presumably a] universal shymbol [for such things as] hope and friendship." 

Other uses

Other...1   It has been reported that "in the early days" shepherds kept track of the number of animals they had by collecting and keeping a number of pebbles, one for each animal.

Other...2   Drivers of "mule-teams" pulling heavy combines over wheat fields in which sporadic boulders were so-to-speak stumbling blocks kept buckets of pebbles by their seats atop the combines for tossing on the backs of so-to-speak lagging mules (Bryce, 1922).

Other...3   Barbara Mayer (1998) records the use of stream-rounded cobbles and pebbles in stone furniture and as door knobs and faucet handles. As I also have, several times in several places, Mayer emphasizes the fact that one of the appeals so far as such uses is the fact that each stone is unique -- i.e., for all practical purposes no two stones (or pieces thereof) are alike.

Other...xx4   Loose concretions, weathered out from a bituminous shale in eastern Kansas once were "found at the doors of many residences in Fort Scott, where they . . . [were] utilized as hitching posts. . . . [The concretions were] prepared simply by drilling a hole in one of their flattened surfaces, and fastening a ring therein" (Haworth, 1896).

Other...xx5   Beastlier (1936) has reported that "Many concretions [of the imatra stone type] assume such grotesque and marvelous shapes that it is no wonder they excite popular curiosity, and in some countries are believed to be of supernatural origin or are called fairy stones, and sometimes are . . . used as charms." (See Figure 2 in the Carbonate Concretions Bibliography entry of this web page.)

Other...xx6   According to Turnovec (1987) moldavites – i.e., tektites from Bohemia (now Czech Republic) -- were used rather widely, apparently just as they were picked up, as pendants and as the heads of walking canes in central Europe, and (along with pieces worked by lapidaries for use in jewelry and ornamental pieces) were so "exhibited and sold . . . at the Jubilee Exhibition held in Prague [Czechoslovakia] 1891."

Other...7   Chimpanzees have been observed using stones to hit, and thus crack, panda nuts placed in depressions in a granite outcrop in the Tai forest of the Ivory Coast, Africa (Miller and Nichols, 1995);  apparently "nut-cracking stones that date back 4,300 years. -- See also  Added-10/2005E information about "A 'Gorilla's complex tool use...' " under this subheading.

Other...xx8   As mentioned under the Weights subheading, stone-lined pits are used in Tahiti for storage of fermented bread fruit.

Other...9   The two additions in this paragraph are included with embarrassment because of my having been an ardent bird-watcher for nearly 70 years, and yet I omitted these well known, widely employed uses from both editions of "Stones: ...": 1. One of the clues used to find a rock wren (Salpinctes obsoletus), or at least its nest, is the presence of a "path" of stones and/or rock chips to its rock- or stone-sheltered nest. [and] 2. A certain rhythmic knocking together of pebbles is a frequently used method used to attract yellow rails (Coturnicops noveboracensis). So far as these omissions are concerned, one of my bird-watching friends, when she directed my attention to the 2 omission, said she thought I should add it to the ritual group of uses -- I consider this ridiculous, but difficult as it may be for most people to believe, some bird-watchers do indeed consider their pursuits to be rituals(!?!).

Other...10   Robert Butka of Mt. Pleasant, Michigan reminded me that boulders and cobbles, typically white or some color that contrasts with the background of the area where they are placed, have been used for years to make all sorts of "signposts" -- i.e., designs -- on such diverse landscape features as hillsides, beaches, and deserts. These designs, generally several feet in greatest dimension, occur here and there the world over, and depict such things as letters (e.g., town names and apparently peoples' initials), numbers (e.g., the years of graduation classes), and ranch symbols (like those on their branding irons).

Other...11   Boulders in cribs are used in several parts of the world to hold such things as utility poles (e.g., in areas where Canadian Shield rock crops out in Ontario) and fence posts (e.g., on Manitoulin Island, Ontario) erect.

Other...12   D.A. Armistead of Madison, Connecticut has written (personal communication, March 3, 1993): "When I was a Boy Scout and was making fire by friction, I used as the 'capstone' of the revolving shaft, a palm-sized, lakeshore stone with a large, natural 'dimple' in it. A little wax in the dimple and I could twirl all day . . . ."

Other...13   Use of pebbles as anal beads -- a use you forgot.  (AND, I shall continue to!!)

Other...14  Cobblestone roads -- Many of these roads consists of cobblestones atop sand;  some also have mortar around the stones.  Cobblestone roads are relatively common in Europe; I have seen them in  Italy, Scotland, Spain,  and Switzerland, and they are recorded in most of the other countries in Europe as well as  in several countries of South America.  In North America, I have seen them in historic areas of Boston, , Charleston (SC), New Orleans and Philadelphia, and they are recorded as present in several other cities in the United States and also in Canada.  At least some of the stones of these "roads" that are in Charleston and New Orleans are said to have previously served as ballast of ships.

Other...15  Anti-parking boulders -- Relatively large boulders were placed here and there on the road in Croydon's main shopping street to stop cars from further parking there illegally.  The area is described as "the heart of a south London suburb".  (see Bloomfield, 2012).

Added  10/A2003  -   A recent article "Boulders Paradise" by Anto Raukas (2003) -- and his photograph of some three dozen people posing beside the glacial erratic Ehalkivi,which is on Letipea beach, Estonia --  reminded me of the fact that a few large boulders, such as glacial erratics, have been so-to-speak quarried for diverse uses.   Ehalkivi --  volume of 930 cubic meters (~ 32,550 cubic feet) and perimeter of 49.6 meters (~ 160 feet),  is  apparently the largest known glacial erratic in Europe.  Considering their locations and local needs, it is quite apparent that such utilization of large boulders is rather widespread. 

Added   6/E2004  -   Although both the use of pebbles and small cobbles was mentioned under the Sports subheading in the book, it probably would have been more fitting to include those uses under Other uses and to have emphasized their use as weapons.  In any case, quite obvious use of stones as weapons are the boulders used in catapults and also those -- though I have been unable to verify this -- used as cannonballs.  Boulders collected for use in catapults in Masada,  an ancient fortress near the southwestern end of the Dead Sea, in southeastern Israel are shown on the web site

Added  4/C2008  -   In statements about Chimp cultures and chimps' throwing  rocks, Roach (2008, p. 137) notes: "Rocks are hurled, sometimes as weapons ..."  Of course, these so-called "rocks," being loose, are stones.

Added  10/E2005  -   A "Gorilla's complex tool use surprises scientists" (Sundaram, 2005) describes and illustrates how a 2 1/2 year old female gorilla in the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International Sanctuary in Goma, Congo uses two rocks -- one as a hammer, the other as an anvil -- to smash palm nuts in order to extract their oil. Interestingly, the recorded primatologists' thoughts about how this activity may relate to evolution makes no mention of sea otters' using similar tools and methods to obtain the included soft part of mollusks for eating (see, for example, Dietrich, 1995, p. 112). 

Added   4/D2008  -   "Chimps use rocks to smash open nuts and fruits for food" (Roach, 2008, p.136).   It seems most likely they use loose pices of rocks, which, of course, are stones.

Added   15/z2015  -    Greater Vasa Parrots use "pebbles to break shells and date bits, then grind the pieces into a calcium powder that they... consume ... [thus] creating their own nutritional supplements."   (Discovery Newsletter, dated 12/15, item by Jennifer Viegas, who attributes information to have been told to Discovery ...  by "lead author Megan Lambert [apparently colleagues involved in study were Amanda Seed and Katie Slocombe of the Lincolnshire Wildlife Park, U.K.]  of the University of York's Department of Psychology.  [The pebbles and shells are in the "bed" of their cage.]  See      <accessed 16 Dec. 2015>.
             This entry, added 15 December 2015, also has at least indirect relations to the Health and Tool ... categories. 

Added  10/B2005  -   How I previously missed this one is a mystery(!!!).  In any case, maracas, such as those frequently used in Latin-American music, are commonly hollow gourd rattles that contain pebbles (or beans).

Added  1/2009  -   The following use of loose rock material in the world of percussion instruments that is in  the Oxford English Dictionary (2nd edition 1989, Copyright © Oxford University Press 2008) seem appropriate additions to the above entry:
                      "1955 B. E. B. FAGG in 3rd Pan-Afr. Congr. Prehist. (1957) xlvii. 310 Very extensive
                        exploration of the granite hills revealed the existence of large numbers of these hammered rocks,
                        which I think can best be described as *rock gongs. They consist of huge natural spalls or
                        exfoliations of rock which happen to rest or be wedged in a position favourable to the production
                        of musical notes. 1959 S. Afr. Archaeol. Bull. XIV. 112/2 Rock gongs should be described as
                        'ringing rocks' or 'sounding stones'. 1961 K. P. WACHSMANN in A. Baines Mus.
                        Instruments through Ages i. 30 Recent studies have revealed many instances of slabs of rock
                        being used as if they were drums. These ‘‘rock gongs’’, as their discoverers called them, occur in
                        Africa north of the equator, in Europe, and in Asia."

Added  11/x2006  -   "Russian TV has been showing off what looks like a rock, but is actually a sophisticated piece of spy equipment. .... It's a 21st century version of the kind of dead drops that spies have used for centuries. [when] Hollowed-out stones had been a favorite hiding place for secret messages. ... The TV report said the British recruited at least one Russian agent, who was given a small handheld computer.  Using the palmtop, the Russian could transmit data into the electronic memory hidden inside the rock.  Later, members of the British Embassy in Moscow could pass by the rock and use their handheld computers to unload information from the stone. ..."(Knobel, 2006)   Be the claim on Russian TV  valid or not, this man-made stone with its electronic contents -- visible on its bottom side -- is shown with the article.

Added  12/B2006  -   Precariously balanced rocks (boulders) in areas prone to seismic activities have fostered investigations relating to probabilistic seismic-hazard analyses.  Field observations, calculations,  experiments, etc. have been made to determine what the presence of these balanced rocks may indicate so far as deciphering the history of diverse kinds of earth shaking movements the rocks experienced and were not toppled.  Conclusions have been made that, if valid,  provide a basis that modifies previously outlined guidelines relating to probable intensities of movements considered likely to be associated with future earthquakes -- e.g., those in California (Brune et al., 2007).

Added  5/B2007  -   Pebbles and cobbles have been finding increased use as backgrounds in advertizing pieces, especially those for jewelry, in several specialty house catalogs.

Added  11/x?x2007  -   Well rounded cobbles are mounted and marketed for use as wall "hooks"  and also as the central piece/focus for clocks???. 

Added  3/x2015 --  This entry is based on reception of the diagram in the on-line version of Straits' Stones...  so it should be(?) dated 4/22/2011, which is the date that the below diagram was put on CONDOR.  The photograph above the diagram was taken 3/11/2015.  This, and other stones of certain identities and/or exhibiting special features are frequently used as teaching aids by geologists, including educators, when no outcrops that exhibit the rock types or features are nearby.  Among other things, "hands on" approaches such as these appear to be much better than even, for example, viewing great photographs of similar rock types and features -- at least for many people/students. The longest dimension of the stone, a large cobble,  is approximately 20 cm (~ 8 inches).

Man-made "stones" and replicas

The widespread and diverse use of stones has led to the production of many masses that resemble stones. These were not considered in "Stones: ..."  Two I have known for  several years are small pebble-size candy with coatings that made them closely resemble natural pebbles and small cobble-size soap coated to resemble natural cobbles.  We sometimes used the candy as favors while I was in graduate school (1947-1951).  The soap was a guest bathroom added "treat" -- especially for non-geologist visitors. 

According to an Associated Press release published July 22 in the Detroit Free Press, two boulders in the Grand Canyon are fake -- that "Tucson's Cemrock Landscapes Inc. [-- a company that builds artificial rocklike environments for zoos etc. --] . . . installed them . . . under a $6,000 contract from the U.S. Geological Survey . . . [to] hide a water-sampling station on Havasu Creek, which flows into the Colorado River in Grand Canyon National Park."

"Rock Molds" -- said to be "durable, flexible and well detailed . . . [and to provide] versatility for the scenery modeler requiring realistic detail" -- are now marketed by, for example, Micro Mark of Berkeley Heights, New Jersey. Among the advertised molds are those for boulders and so-called "wind rocks," both of which, if the illustrations are representative, closely resemble natural stones. See also the following item.

A now-yellowed newspaper clipping, sent to me anonymously and the source of which I have been unable to locate, includes an advertisement with a description and sketch of "StereoStone." The illustrated setup using such "stones" consists of a pair of man-made enclosures that resemble masses of rock or boulders; the units are said to have been "developed for best acoustical sound reproduction, and . . . [to be] unaffected by extreme adverse weather or ultra-violet rays."

A clipping from another catalog, which I have been unable to identify, illustrates and describes "Riverstone oil lamps," apparently so-named because they are shaped like stream-worn cobbles. Their surfaces are marbleized porcelain.

Relatively recently, stone patterns have been photographed and replicated on such things as linoleum, wall paper and wrapping paper and for the facing surfaces of laminates used for counter tops and ceramic tiles (see, Mayer, 1998).

Added-10/2002. A "good luck stone" described in a gift-distributor's catalog as "cool and comforting in the hand and pleasing to the eye" is actually aluminum, cast with the shape of a well worn stone and embossed with a Chinese character meaning good luck. Considering the fact that these "stones" -- which according to the Wentworth Scale, used by geologists (see "Stones: ...", p.10; 1st edition,p.8) are cobble-sized -- it would seem that they would more likely to find use as a paper weights than as "worry stones," eh(!?).

Added-10/2002. Several man-made materials have been molded, worked during setting and/or carved into diverse shapes including those that resemble pebbles, cobbles and boulders and marketed for a multitude of diverse uses. Currently, one of the widely used materials is hydrostone - a U.S. Gypsum product that is harder than Plaster of Paris, and when combined with different fillers assumes all sorts of colors and textures. As an example, Andrew Werby (United Artworks) notes on his website that he uses one "called Fortran MG . . . [which] is mixed from gypsum cement, a polymer emulsion, dry melamine resin, and hardener . . ." Some of the more durable of these mixtures are favored for pieces that are likely to be exposed to the weather -- e.g., for landscape and garden accents. Several specialty catalogs advertise pieces that resemble cobbles and boulders with engraved inscriptions such as the age-old "Smart Rock . . .  If this rock is wet, it's raining; ... moving, earthquake; . . . white, it's snowing; . . . not here, it's stolen."

Added-3/2003. Among the more interesting of the molded boulders alluded to in the preceding addition are those that consist of a relatively thin layer of fiberglass, dusted with crushed stone.   These "boulders," which are, of course, light in weight -- and thus easily moved -- as well as durable, are used as garden and landscape accents.  

Added-10/2002. Man-made stones for skipping (where I come from "dapping") are now being packaged and marketed via the Internet. These "stones" are made of TREEPLAST, which is described as "a woodlike material which dissolves in water . . . [and is] fully biodegradable and therefore not harmful for our environment." As illustrated on the Treeplast site ( these "stones" appear to have the shape and size that Jerdone Coleman-McGhee describes as preferred. (This is interesting because the shape he describes is quite different from the "flat, ovoid, smooth skipping stone" that I have always preferred and is recorded as "cherished" by contestants at the annual Mackinac Island, Michigan, competition.) Coleman-McGhee's preferred shape and size are described as "smooth and uniformly thick or thin ... [but] not necessarily round. [and] One of the best shapes is triangular ('like the Stealth Bomber,' . . .) [because] The triangle shape provides stability. [and] The stone should be about as big as your palm." Whatever their shape and size, in my opinion, the description on the Treeplast web site lacks one important bit of information -- i.e., the specific gravity of these "stones." To me, the "TREEPLAST" designation and use of the descriptive term "woodlike material" raises all sorts of questions about how experienced stone dappers may react to using (or the use of) these "stones" for skipping on water. These questions are based on two things in particular: 1. I recall when I, a baseball player, "threw my arm out" playing catch with a tennis ball. [and] 2. I think about the time I skipped some stones on Great Salt Lake.

Added-11/2002. Boulder-shaped and -sized masses made by Indiana "Amish" tradesmen are used rather widely in lieu of natural boulders, particularly in the upper mid-western United States. These masses, most of which closely resemble natural stones, are made by coating rubber molds of natural boulders with dyes and then filling them with concrete mix, . . . .   The dyes -- said to come from Germany where they are used to color, for example, patio blocks -- give these "stones" thin surface coatings that range in color through several shades of gray, green and red. Some masons prefer to use these man-made masses, rather than natural boulders, because all of them have virtually the same surface texture and none of them has any of the irregular shapes commonly possessed by natural boulders. (Daniel McGuire, personal communication, 2002)  This, by the way, is just one of many similar products, so should be considered only an example.

Added-6/2003. Some pencil erasers that closely resemble  water-worn white quartz pebbles, each bearing a "painted on" design, have recently been advertized in a specialty catalog and noted to be not only useful but also to "look great on your desktop."

Added-5/2004.  "Stones" made of a "mixture of cement, sand, water and lime"  -- misidentified as plaster -- are fashioned to resemble natural stones by Californian John Keeling, who uses both hand specimens and photographs of natural stones and rocks as models (Lease, 2004).

Added-7/2004.  Materials other than those mentioned above have been described and/or illustrated in advertizements as constituting such diverse objects as small sculptures, picture frames, stepping stones and boulders used as lancscape accents or covers for unsightly objects.  Those mentioned include ceramics, "oxolyte" (described as a blend of marble and resin), "sculptstone,"  "stone-like resin," "thermostone-plastic" and  "urethane-foam 'rock'."  Especially those produced for use as landscape accents (etc.) are produced so both their shapes and surface features -- colors (and patterns thereof) and textures -- closely resemble diverse naturally eroded rocks. 

Added- 3/2005  The "stones" used in the board game Pente, which became rather popular in the 1980s, are colored glass.  Apparently the name stones was applied to them because this game seems for the most part  to combine and extend  -- i.e., be an evolution of  -- the general principles of the games known by such names as Go, Niniku-Rinju and Go-Moku, at least some of which originally used real stones as their so-to-speak actors.  Frequently these colored glass “stones,” along with so-called storage bags with pull-strings for their safe keeping when not in use, are sold along with the “board.”  See

Added-1/2006  See addition dated 1/2006 under "Other uses" subheading.

Added- 12/2006  "Faux Fieldstone" shelve stones,  that consisting of resin and  closely resemble layered rocks have appeared in the marketplace recently.  These light weight replicas make fine additions to several decors.

Added- 10/2007  Yet another material, described as "Thermostone plastic composite," has been fashioned into Mock Rock(s) - large, Faux Boulder(s) - medium size, and Mock Stone(s) - relatively small, boulder-sized hollow shells that resemble stones, and marketed as landscape boulders to conceal unsightly items in one's yard.

Added- 2/2008  A caption in Time (February 4, 2008,  p.53) describes the phototograph to be "Living Stones [that] look like rocks but are cozy cushions that can be arranged for comfort and style."  
Added- 10/2008  Fiberglas replicas of fieldstones with galvinized stakes that can be screwed into their bases are marketed for flowerbed edgings.  The stakes, when driven into the ground serve to hold these relatively light-weight faux fieldstones in place.

Added-  6/2009  Poly-resin replicas of fieldstones of various sizes and shapes  that are said to "glow with sunlight absorbed by ... [an] attached solar panel -- no batteries or electricity needed!" are marketed  as "Solar-Powered [or] Solar 'Rocks'" for use to illuminate edgings of landscape accents. 

Added-  6/2009  Another group of similarly appearing replicas called "Lightstone Garden Edging" are described as "70% real stone reenforced with fiberglass. [and to bear]  Rust proof, screw-in galvanized stakes underneath [that] make for easy positioning."


CHAPTER 5. Collecting Stones

Under the subheading "Equipment Needed" the following seems noteworthy: To avoid getting wet, Neil Vansyckle, a good friend who frequently collects stones off shore from pebble beaches of Lake Michigan, uses a strainer (sieve) attached to the end of a rather long pole. This collecting "tool" has the advantage over the more frequently used can or pail attached to a pole in that when it is raised out of the water, the water drains off the stones, making the "load" lighter, thus extending the time collectors, especially youngsters and oldsters, can participate without fatigue and straining muscles.

Correction: 2nd edition only, page 126: NH3OH should read NH4OH

Added-11/F2002. It appears I really hit upon a popular subject with the coverage of mimetoliths (i.e., stones that resemble some real or imaginary person, animal, bird, fish, plant, landscape feature, etc.). – See "Stones: . . ." (p.130, "specialty collection" 3 and p.132, Figure 5.5) and also the third paragraph under the Objets d'Art?!? subheading in this Addenda. As noted in the latter, a few specimens and scores of photographs of stones -- the resemblance aspects of which range from obvious to "look and let your imagination wander a bit" -- have been sent to me. The following figures are examples.

                                Left. top, sea horse's head; bottom, "lizard stone." (top © photo by Sally Gilmore; bottom © photo by Edna Hesthal; both courtesy of Edna Hesthal)

                                Right. top, snow-capped mountain (base sawed); bottom, desert landscape. (© photos by Sally Gilmore, courtesy of Edna Hesthal)


Again, a request:  If anyone has suggestions for things to be included with these Addenda -- e.g., additional uses of stones OR anything else about stones that seems especially noteworthy -- Please contact me via email at:

~ ~ ~ + + & + + ~ ~ ~

END of Part 2

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R.V. Dietrich © 2017
3 January 2017

References Cited (for both Parts):

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Revised:  2 January 2017

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R.V. Dietrich © 2017
23 March 2017

R.V ("Dick") Dietrich (b. 1924), a native of the St. Lawrence Valley, Northern New York, is a graduate of Colgate University (A.B.), and Yale University (M.S. & Ph.D -- Geology).  Now retired, he was a College professor of Geology, with Petrology his main field of research.  He has authored or coauthored many professional papers and books, some of which are textbooks, and also 14 web sites, most of which are available at .  For additional informaton, click the following link: XXXX.