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.
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.