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What is a gabion?

  A gabion (from Italian gabbione meaning "big cage"; from Italian gabbia and Latin cavea meaning "cage") is a cage, cylinder, or box filled with rocks, concrete, or sometimes sand and soil for use in civil engineering, road building, and military applications. For erosion control, caged riprap is used. For dams or in foundation construction, cylindrical metal structures are used. In a military context, earth orsandfilled gabions are used to protect artillery crews from enemy fire.
  The earliest known use of gabion structures was about 7,000 years ago. The Egyptians used baskets woven from sedge and filled with sludge to protect the shores of the Nile in the age of the pharaohs. Later on in the Middle Ages, in Europe baskets woven from sticks were filled with stones and earth and used for building castle fortifications or for protecting the shores of rivers. Today these baskets are called gabion structures, the name derives from the Italian word gabbione meaning "big cage". In the middle of the 19th century gabion boxes were made only from woven steel wire, while welded steel mesh gabion boxes appeared in the middle of the 20th century.

  So gabions are steel wire structures packed with stone on the construction site to ensure the stability of steep slopes due to their mass, while in the case of so-called soil retaining walls stability is ensured by steel and plastic meshes built in the slope in layers.