Stone walls as part of museum collections

The Jaeren region is an intensive agricultural area, with green grass fields divided by stone walls. The cultural biography of stone walls is studied in this article, and it is shown how they have been classified and reclassified, from the Iron Age to the present. They served a practical purpose as borders until the late eighteenth century, when they became an important part of the modernization project, symbolizing the Jaeren farmers as hard-working people. At the same time, stone walls became useful stone storages. In the twentieth century, they were looked upon as a hindrance to the modernization process as new machines were introduced, and stone walls were removed and the stones buried. This practice then created problems for farming, and building stone walls was once again introduced. Now they are made by professional stonemasons. Stone walls have communicated how farmers take care of the traditional cultural landscape, and are said to be the link between past and present. Now they are also built in private gardens, and around public buildings and shopping malls. By passing on the knowledge of how these objects have been classified, it is possible to argue that both old and new stone walls are an important part of our cultural heritage.