Humanity has had a long relationship with rocks including collecting them. This article argues that humans collect and use rocks for many for many purposes: utilitarian, economic, scientific, sacred, decorative and mnemonic. The collected rock acquires meaning different from the rock in situ. This meaning can be communal or personal, connected to events, real or mythic, or to place. The rock can act as a sign or tell a story. It can be seen as a metonym of the landscape. Or it can be viewed as a synecdoche, the part standing in for the whole, for a landscape or an experience. The meaning of the collected rock or the rock collection varies from person to person and can change over time.


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