rock sites

News crews and supporters of the protesters have flocked to the Standing Rock camp sites to keep Americans abreast of the latest updates. In doing so, they’ve helped turn what started as a tiny demonstration on the plains of North Dakota into perhaps the banner environmental protest movement of the 21st century.

The future of that movement remains uncertain. Trump will be president in less than two months, making for a formidable enemy. The Army Corps of Engineers could change course and rule that laying the pipeline under Lake Oahe is an environmentally sound decision after all. Meanwhile, Native Americans face related environmental conflicts across the country. Fallout from the Gold King Mine spill in Colorado continues to impact Navajo people along the Animas and San Juan rivers. In New Mexico, the proposed Pinon oil pipeline is its early planning stages, laying the groundwork for what could be another iteration of the Dakota Access battle.

What is certain is that it will be increasingly difficult for these conflicts to play out in obscurity. Once the conscience of a nation is awakened, it’s hard to put it back to sleep. If the Dakota Access pipeline protests have taught Americans anything, it’s that the vitality of indigenous protest lives on, despite years of their opponents hoping they’d finally been written off for good.

— Zak Cheney-Rice, The Standing Rock protests face an uncertain future. But this moment won’t be forgotten. | follow @the-movemnt

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5

The Ring of Brogdar is Neolithic henge and stone circle located in Orkney, Scotland. While the site has not yet been reliably dated, it’s commonly believed to have been erected sometime between 2500 BC and 2000 BC. In 2008 an excavation was undertaken to try and settle the dating issue, but the results are still only preliminary.

The ring consists of about 60 stones, only 27 of which are still standing. They are set within a ditch that’s about 3 meters deep and carved from solid sandstone bedrock. The stone circle is 104 meters in diameter, making it the third largest in the British Isles, and is the most truly circular stone circle from the late Neolithic or early Bronze Age.

The first formal survey of the ring was performed in 1849 by Captain F. W. L. Thomas and crew. They were in the area drawing up admiralty charts when they decided to perform archaeological surveys. Since then, surveys and studies are routine, and the site is currently the target of ongoing excavations by Orkney College. Over the course of several years the ring has come to be understood as an area of significant ritual important after discoveries of chambered tombs, barrows, cairns, arrowheads, flint, some fallen stones, and the remains of a 100 meter stone wall. The exact purpose is not known, but in 1999 the ancient monument because a UNESCO World Heritage Site and recognized as part of the “Heart of Neolithic Orkney.”

That said, the site is a complex archaeological find for another reason as well. It was slightly augmented by Nordic invaders sometime around the 9th century during a series of Viking incursions into the British Isles. Various runes and runic carvings have shown up on stones and artefacts at the site, and serve as yet another example of how the Vikings imposed their complex theology onto existing monuments.