A sweat lodge is a low profile hut dome-shaped or oblong, made with natural materials. The structure is the lodge, the ceremony performed within the structure may be called a purification ceremony or a sweat. Traditionally the structure is simple, constructed of saplings covered with blankets and sometimes animal skins, it was only used by some of the Indigenous peoples of the Americas, notably the Plains Indians, but with the rise of pan-Indianism, numerous nations that did not have the sweat lodge ceremony have adopted it. This has been controversial. In all cases, the sweat is intended as a religious ceremony – it is for prayer and healing, the ceremony is only to be led by elders who know the associated language, songs and safety protocols. Otherwise, the ceremony can be dangerous. Sweat lodges have been imitated by some non-natives in North America and internationally, resulting in responses like the Lakota Declaration of War and similar statements from Indigenous Elders declaring that these imitations are dangerous and disrespectful misappropriations and need to stop.
Native Americans in many regions have sweat lodge ceremonies. For example, Chumash peoples of the central coast of California build sweat lodges in coastal areas in association with habitation sites; the ancient Mesoamerican tribes of Mexico, such as the Aztec and Olmec, practiced a sweat bath ceremony known as temazcal as a religious rite of penance and purification. Traditions associated with sweating vary culturally. Ceremonies include traditional prayers and songs. In some cultures drumming and offerings to the spirit world may be part of the ceremony, or a sweat lodge ceremony may be a part of another, longer ceremony such as a Sun Dance; some common practices and key elements associated with sweat lodges include: Training – Indigenous cultures with sweatlodge traditions require that someone go through intensive training for many years to be allowed to lead a lodge. One of the requirements is that the leader be able to pray and communicate fluently in the indigenous language of that culture, that they understand how to conduct the ceremony safely.
This leadership role is granted by the Elders of the community, not self-designated. This leadership is only entrusted to those who are full members of the community, who live in community, it is never given to outsiders who leave to sell ceremony. Orientation – The door may face a sacred fire; the cardinal directions may have symbolism in the culture, holding the sweating ceremony. The lodge may be oriented within its environment for a specific purpose. Placement and orientation of the lodge within its environment are considered to facilitate the ceremony's connection with the spirit world, as well as practical considerations of usage. Construction – The lodge is built with great care and knowledge, with respect for the environment and for the materials being used. Clothing – In Native American lodges participants wear a simple garment such as shorts or a loose dress. Modesty is important, rather than display. People who are experienced with sweats, attending a ceremony led by a properly trained and authorized traditional Native American ceremonial leader, could experience problems due to underlying health issues.
It is recommended by Lakota spiritual leaders that people only attend lodges with authorized, traditional spiritual leaders. There have been reports of lodge-related deaths resulting from overexposure to heat, smoke inhalation, or improper lodge construction leading to suffocation. If rocks are used, it is important not to use river rocks, or other kinds of rocks with air pockets inside them. Rocks must be dry before heating. Rocks with air pockets or excessive moisture could crack and explode in the fire or when hit by water. Used rocks may absorb humidity or moisture leading to cracks or shattering; the following is a list of reported deaths related to non-traditional "New Age" sweat rituals: Gordon Reynolds, 43 Kirsten Babcock, 34 David Thomas Hawker, 36 Rowen Cooke, 37 Paige Martin, 57 Kirby Brown, 38, of Westtown, NY Lizbeth Neuman, 49, of Prior Lake, MN James Shore, 40, of Milwaukee, WI In October 2009, during a New Age retreat organized by James Arthur Ray, three people died and 21 more became ill while attending an overcrowded and improperly set up sweat lodge containing some 60 people and located near Sedona, Arizona.
Ray was arrested by the Yavapai County Sheriff's Office in connection with the deaths on February 3, 2010, bond was set at $5 million. In response to these deaths, Lakota spiritual leader Arvol Looking Horse issued a statement reading in part: Our First Nations People have to earn the right to pour the mini wic'oni upon the inyan oyate in creating Inikag'a – by going on the vision quest for four years and four years Sundance. You are put through a ceremony to be painted – to recognize that you have now earned that right to take care of someone's life through purification, they should be able to understand our sacred language, to be able to understand the messages from the Grandfathers, because they are ancient, they are our spirit ancestors. They teach the values of our culture. What has happened in the news with the make shift sauna called the sweat lodge is not our ceremonial way of life! On November 2, 2009, the Lakota Nation filed a lawsuit against the United States, Arizona State, James Arthur Ray, Angel Valley Retreat Center site owners, to have Ray and
A monolith is a geological feature consisting of a single massive stone or rock, such as some mountains, or a single large piece of rock placed as, or within, a monument or building. Erosion exposes the geological formations, which are made of hard and solid igneous or metamorphic rock. In architecture, the term has considerable overlap with megalith, used for prehistory, may be used in the contexts of rock-cut architecture that remains attached to solid rock, as in monolithic church, or for exceptionally large stones such as obelisks, monolithic columns or large architraves, that may have been moved a considerable distance after quarrying, it may be used of large glacial erratics moved by natural forces. The word derives, via the Latin monolithus, from the Ancient Greek word μονόλιθος, from μόνος and λίθος. Large, well-known monoliths include: Aso Rock, Nigeria Ben Amera, Mauritania Brandberg Mountain, Namibia Sibebe, Swaziland Zuma Rock, Nigeria Mount Lubiri, Angola Mount Poi, Kenya Great Sphinx of Giza Scullin monolith Bellary, India Bhongir, India Madhugiri Betta, India Kailasa temple, Ellora.
Maharashtra, India Mount Kelam, Indonesia Mount Pico de Loro, Philippines Mount Pulumbato, Philippines Sangla Hill, Pakistan Savandurga, India Sigiriya, Sri Lanka Yana, India Gilbert Hill, India Bald Rock, near Tenterfield, New South Wales Burringurrah, Western Australia Mount Coolum, Queensland Mount Wudinna, South Australia Pine Mountain, Victoria Uluru, Northern Territory Kalamos, Greece Katskhi pillar, Georgia Logan Rock, Cornwall, England Penyal d'Ifac, Valencian Community, Spain La Peña de Arcos, Arcos de la Frontera, Spain Peña de los Enamorados, Andalusia, Spain Rock of Gibraltar, Gibraltar Rock of Monaco, Monaco-Ville, Monaco Angels Landing, Zion National Park, Utah Beacon Rock, Columbia River Gorge, Washington Bottleneck Peak and Moon, Sids Mountain, Utah Castle Rock, West Virginia Chimney Rock, Nebraska Chimney Rock, Chimney Rock, North Carolina Courthouse and Jail Rocks, Nebraska Devils Tower, Wyoming El Capitan, Yosemite National Park, California Enchanted Rock, Llano County, Texas Frog Woman Rock, Mendocino County, California Great White Throne, Zion National Park, Utah Half Dome, Yosemite National Park, California Haystack Rock, Clatsop County, Oregon Looking Glass Rock, Transylvania County, North Carolina Morro Rock, Morro Bay, California Scotts Bluff National Monument, Nebraska Shiprock, San Juan County, New Mexico Stone Mountain, Stone Mountain, Georgia Tooth of Time, New Mexico Wolf Rock, Linn County, Oregon Stawamus Chief, British Columbia La Peña de Bernal, Queretaro.
El Peñón known as El Peñol Stone or La Piedra, Colombia Pão de Açúcar, Brazil Pedra da Gávea, Brazil the world's largest monolith on the coastline Pedra da Galinha Choca, Brazil Torres del Paine, Chile Phobos monolith on Phobos Mars monolith A structure, excavated as a unit from a surrounding matrix or outcropping of rock. Aztec calendar stone "Stone of the Sun" The Church of Saint George in Lalibela, Ethiopia, is one of a number of monolithic churches in Ethiopia Coyolxauhqui Stone another aztec monolith Ellora Caves - UNESCO World Heritage Site Great Sphinx of Giza "The Egyptian Sphinx" Gomateswara or Lord Bahubali at Sravanabelagola, Karnataka Manzanar National Historic Landmark, USA Obelisks - see this article for a list Ogham stones, inscribed standing stones throughout Ireland Runestones Standing stones Stelae Stone circle Stone of the Pregnant Woman, Baalbek Stonehenge contains several The Longstones or the Devil's Quoits, Wiltshire, England Vijayanagara Empire medieval South Indian carved examples Bornhardt Butte List of inselbergs Megalith Menhir Monadnock Monolithic architecture Monolith Regarding Uluru/Ayers Rock and earlier representations of it as the largest monolith: GA.gov.au, ABC.net.au, Wayoutback.com.au 14 Largest Monoliths in the World, touropia
The Ojibwe, Chippewa, or Saulteaux are an Anishinaabe people of Canada and the United States. They are one of the most numerous indigenous peoples north of the Rio Grande. In Canada, they are the second-largest First Nations population, surpassed only by the Cree. In the United States, they have the fifth-largest population among Native American peoples, surpassed in number only by the Navajo, Cherokee and Sioux; the Ojibwe people traditionally speak the Ojibwe language, a branch of the Algonquian language family. They are part of the Council of Three Fires and the Anishinaabeg, which include the Algonquin, Oji-Cree and the Potawatomi. Through the Saulteaux branch, they were a part of the Iron Confederacy, joining the Cree and Metis; the majority of the Ojibwe people live in Canada. There are 77,940 mainline Ojibwe, they live from western Quebec to eastern British Columbia. As of 2010, Ojibwe in the US census population is 170,742; the Ojibwe are known for their birch bark canoes, birch bark scrolls and trade in copper, as well as their cultivation of wild rice and Maple syrup.
Their Midewiwin Society is well respected as the keeper of detailed and complex scrolls of events, oral history, maps, stories and mathematics. The Ojibwe people underwent colonization by Settler-Canadians, they signed treaties with settler leaders, many European settlers soon inhabited the Ojibwe ancestral lands. The exonym for this Anishinaabe group is Ojibwe; this name is anglicized as "Ojibwa" or "Ojibway". The name "Chippewa" is an alternative anglicization. Although many variations exist in literature, "Chippewa" is more common in the United States, "Ojibway" predominates in Canada, but both terms are used in each country. In many Ojibwe communities throughout Canada and the U. S. since the late 20th century, more members have been using the generalized name Anishinaabe. The exact meaning of the name Ojibwe is not known; some 19th century sources say this name described a method of ritual torture that the Ojibwe applied to enemies. Ozhibii'iwe, meaning "those who keep records ", referring to their form of pictorial writing, pictographs used in Midewiwin sacred rites.
Because many Ojibwe were located around the outlet of Lake Superior, which the French colonists called Sault Ste. Marie for its rapids, the early Canadian settlers referred to the Ojibwe as Saulteurs. Ojibwe who subsequently moved to the prairie provinces of Canada have retained the name Saulteaux; this is disputed. Ojibwe who were located along the Mississagi River and made their way to southern Ontario are known as the Mississaugas; the Ojibwe language is known as Anishinaabemowin or Ojibwemowin, is still spoken, although the number of fluent speakers has declined sharply. Today, most of the language's fluent speakers are elders. Since the early 21st century, there is a growing movement to revitalize the language, restore its strength as a central part of Ojibwe culture; the language belongs to the Algonquian linguistic group, is descended from Proto-Algonquian. Its sister languages include Blackfoot, Cree, Menominee and Shawnee among the northern Plains tribes. Anishinaabemowin is referred to as a "Central Algonquian" language.
Ojibwemowin is the fourth-most spoken Native language in North America after Navajo and Inuktitut. Many decades of fur trading with the French established the language as one of the key trade languages of the Great Lakes and the northern Great Plains; the popularity of the epic poem The Song of Hiawatha, written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in 1855, publicized the Ojibwe culture. The epic contains many toponyms. According to Ojibwe oral history and from recordings in birch bark scrolls, the Ojibwe originated from the mouth of the St. Lawrence River on the Atlantic coast of what is now Quebec, they traded across the continent for thousands of years as they migrated, knew of the canoe routes to move north, west to east, south in the Americas. The identification of the Ojibwe as a culture or people may have occurred in response to contact with Europeans; the Europeans tried to identify those they encountered. According to Ojibwe oral history, seven great miigis beings appeared to them in the Waabanakiing to teach them the mide way of life.
One of the seven great miigis beings was too spiritually powerful and killed the people in the Waabanakiing when they were in its presence. The six great miigis beings remained to teach; the six great miigis beings established doodem for people in the east, symbolized by animal, fish or bird species. The five original Anishinaabe doodem were the Wawaazisii, Aan'aawenh and Moozoonsii these six miigis beings returned into the ocean as well. If the seventh miigis being had stayed
Polaris, designated α Ursae Minoris the North Star or Pole Star, is the brightest star in the constellation of Ursa Minor. It is close to the north celestial pole, making it the current northern pole star; the revised Hipparcos parallax gives a distance to Polaris of about 433 light-years, while calculations by other methods derive distances around 30% closer. Polaris is a triple star system, composed of the primary star, Polaris Aa, in orbit with a smaller companion. There were once thought to be two more distant components—Polaris C and Polaris D—but these have been shown not to be physically associated with the Polaris system. Polaris Aa is a 5.4 solar mass F7 yellow supergiant of spectral type Ib. It is the first classical Cepheid to have a mass determined from its orbit; the two smaller companions are Polaris B, a 1.39 M☉ F3 main-sequence star orbiting at a distance of 2400 astronomical units, Polaris Ab, a close F6 main-sequence star with an 18.8 AU radius orbit and 1.26 M☉. Polaris B can be seen with a modest telescope.
William Herschel discovered the star in August 1779 using a reflecting telescope of his own, one of the best telescopes of the time. By examining the spectrum of Polaris A, it was discovered in 1929 that it was a close binary, with the secondary being a dwarf, theorized in earlier observations. In January 2006, NASA released images, from the Hubble telescope, that showed the three members of the Polaris ternary system; the nearest dwarf star is in an orbit of only 18.5 AU from Polaris Aa, about the distance between the Sun and Uranus), which explains why its light is swamped by its close and much brighter companion. Polaris Aa, the supergiant primary component, is a low-amplitude Population I classical Cepheid variable, although it was once thought to be a type II Cepheid due to its high galactic latitude. Cepheids constitute an important standard candle for determining distance, so Polaris, as the closest such star, is studied; the variability of Polaris had been suspected since 1852. The range of brightness of Polaris during its pulsations is given as 1.86–2.13, but the amplitude has changed since discovery.
Prior to 1963, the amplitude was over 0.1 magnitude and was gradually decreasing. After 1966 it rapidly decreased until it was less than 0.05 magnitude. It has been reported that the amplitude is now increasing again, a reversal not seen in any other Cepheid; the period 4 days, has changed over time. It has increased by around 4.5 seconds per year except for a hiatus in 1963–1965. This was thought to be due to secular redward evolution across the Cepheid instability strip, but it may be due to interference between the primary and the first-overtone pulsation modes. Authors disagree on whether Polaris is a fundamental or first-overtone pulsator and on whether it is crossing the instability strip for the first time or not; the temperature of Polaris varies by only a small amount during its pulsations, but the amount of this variation is variable and unpredictable. The erratic changes of temperature and the amplitude of temperature changes during each cycle, from less than 50 K to at least 170 K, may be related to the orbit with Polaris Ab.
Research reported in Science suggests that Polaris is 2.5 times brighter today than when Ptolemy observed it, changing from third to second magnitude. Astronomer Edward Guinan considers this to be a remarkable change and is on record as saying that "if they are real, these changes are 100 times larger than predicted by current theories of stellar evolution"; because Polaris lies nearly in a direct line with the Earth's rotational axis "above" the North Pole—the north celestial pole—Polaris stands motionless in the sky, all the stars of the northern sky appear to rotate around it. Therefore, it makes an excellent fixed point from which to draw measurements for celestial navigation and for astrometry; the moving of Polaris towards and, in the future, away from the celestial pole, is due to the precession of the equinoxes. The celestial pole will move away from α UMi after the 21st century, passing close by Gamma Cephei by about the 41st century, moving towards Deneb by about the 91st century.
The celestial pole was close to Thuban around 2750 BC, during classical antiquity it was closer to Kochab than to Polaris. It was about the same angular distance from β UMi; the Greek navigator Pytheas in ca. 320 BC described the celestial pole as devoid of stars. However, as one of the brighter stars close to the celestial pole, Polaris was used for navigation at least from late antiquity, described as ἀεί φανής "always visible" by Stobaeus, it could reasonably be described as stella polaris from about the High Middle Ages. In Shakespeare's play Julius Caesar, written around 1599, Caesar describes himself as being "as constant as the northern star", though in Caesar's time there was no constant northern star. Polaris is referenced in Nathaniel Bowditch's 1802 book, American Practical Navigator, where it is listed as one of the navigational stars. In 2018 Polaris is 0.66° away from the pole of rotation and so revolves around the pole in a small circle 1.3° in diameter. It will be closest to the pole soon after the year 2100.
Twice in each sidereal day Polaris' azimuth is true north.
The Sioux known as Očhéthi Šakówiŋ, are groups of Native American tribes and First Nations peoples in North America. The term can refer to any ethnic group within the Great Sioux Nation or to any of the nation's many language dialects; the modern Sioux consist of two major divisions based on language divisions: the Dakota and Lakota. The Santee Dakota reside in the extreme east of the Dakotas and northern Iowa; the Yankton and Yanktonai Dakota, collectively referred to by the endonym Wičhíyena, reside in the Minnesota River area. They are considered to be the middle Sioux, have in the past been erroneously classified as Nakota; the actual Nakota are the Stoney of Western Canada and Montana. The Lakota called Teton, are the westernmost Sioux, known for their hunting and warrior culture. Today, the Sioux maintain many separate tribal governments scattered across several reservations and reserves in North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska and Montana in the United States; the Sioux people refer to the Great Sioux Nation as the Očhéthi Šakówiŋ, meaning "Seven Council Fires").
Each fire is a symbol of an oyate. Today the seven nations that comprise the Očhéthi Šakówiŋ are the Thítȟuŋwaŋ, Bdewákaŋthuŋwaŋ, Waȟpéthuŋwaŋ, Waȟpékhute, Sisíthuŋwaŋ and Iháŋkthuŋwaŋ and Iháŋkthuŋwaŋna, they are referred to as the Lakota or Dakota as based upon dialect differences. In any of the dialects, Lakota or Dakota translates to mean "friend" or "ally" referring to the alliances between the bands; the name "Sioux" was adopted in English by the 1760s from French. It is abbreviated from Nadouessioux, first attested by Jean Nicolet in 1640; the name is sometimes said to be derived from an Ojibwe exonym for the Sioux meaning "little snakes". The spelling in -x is due to the French plural marker; the Proto-Algonquian form *na·towe·wa, meaning "Northern Iroquoian", has reflexes in several daughter languages that refer to a small rattlesnake. An alternative explanation is derivation from an exonym na·towe·ssiw, from a verb *-a·towe· meaning "to speak a foreign language"; the current Ojibwe term for the Sioux and related groups is Bwaanag, meaning "roasters".
This refers to the style of cooking the Sioux used in the past. In recent times, some of the tribes have formally or informally reclaimed traditional names: the Rosebud Sioux Tribe is known as the Sičháŋǧu Oyáte, the Oglala use the name Oglála Lakȟóta Oyáte, rather than the English "Oglala Sioux Tribe" or OST; the alternative English spelling of Ogallala is considered improper. The Sioux comprise three related language groups: Eastern Dakota Santee Sisseton Western Dakota Yankton Yanktonai Lakota The earlier linguistic three-way division of the Sioux language identified Lakota and Nakota as dialects of a single language, where Lakota = Teton, Dakota = Santee-Sisseton and Nakota = Yankton-Yanktonai. However, the latest studies show that Yankton-Yanktonai never used the autonym Nakhóta, but pronounced their name the same as the Santee; these studies identify Assiniboine and Stoney as two separate languages, with Sioux being the third language. Sioux has three similar dialects: Western Dakota and Eastern Dakota.
Assiniboine and Stoney speakers refer to themselves as Nakhóda. The term Dakota has been applied by anthropologists and governmental departments to refer to all Sioux groups, resulting in names such as Teton Dakota, Santee Dakota, etc; this was because of the misrepresented translation of the Ottawa word from which Sioux is derived. The Sioux are divided into three ethnic groups, the larger of which are divided into sub-groups, further branched into bands; the earliest known European record of the Sioux identified them in Minnesota and Wisconsin. After the introduction of the horse in the early 18th century, the Sioux dominated larger areas of land—from present day Central Canada to the Platte River, from Minnesota to the Yellowstone River, including the Powder River country; the Sioux maintain many separate tribal governments scattered across several reservations and communities in North America: in the Dakotas, Minnesota and Montana in the United States. Today, many Sioux live outside their reservations.
The Santee migrated north and westward from the Southeastern United States, first into Ohio to Minnesota. Some came up from area of South Carolina; the Santee River was named after them, some of their ancestors' ancient earthwork mounds have survived along the portion of the dammed-up river that forms Lake Marion. In the past, they were a Woodland people who thrived on hunting and farming. Migrations of Ojibwe from the east in the 17th and 18th centuries, with muskets supplied by the French and British, pushed the Dakota further into Minnesota and west and southward; the US gave the name "Dakota Territory"
The Nazca Lines are a group of large geoglyphs formed by depressions or shallow incisions made in the soil of the Nazca Desert in southern Peru. They were created between 500 BCE and 500 CE. Most lines run straight across the landscape, but there are figurative designs of animals and plants, made up of lines; the individual figurative geoglyph designs measure between 0.4 and 1.1 km across. The combined length of all the lines is over 1,300 km, the group cover an area of about 50 sq km; the lines are 10 to 15 cm deep. They were made by removing the top layer of reddish-brown iron oxide-coated pebbles to reveal a yellow-grey subsoil; the width of the lines varies but over half are over one-third meter wide. In some places they may be only a foot wide, in others reach 6 feet wide; some of the Nazca lines form shapes that are best seen from the air, though they are visible from the surrounding foothills and other high places. The shapes are made from one continuous line; the largest ones are about 370 m long.
Because of its isolation and the dry, stable climate of the plateau, the lines have been preserved naturally. Rare changes in weather may temporarily alter the general designs; as of 2012, the lines are said to have been deteriorating because of an influx of squatters inhabiting the lands. The figures vary in complexity. Hundreds are simple lines and geometric shapes. Other shapes include flowers. Scholars differ in interpreting the purpose of the designs, but in general, they ascribe religious significance to them, they were designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994. The high, arid plateau stretches more than 80 km between the towns of Nazca and Palpa on the Pampas de Jumana 400 km south of Lima matching the main PE-1S Panamericana Sur; the main concentration is in a 10 by 4 km rectangle, south of San Miguel de la Pascana hamlet. In this area, the most notable geoglyphs are visible. Although some local geoglyphs resemble Paracas motifs, scholars believe the Nazca Lines were created by the Nazca culture.
In 1994, they were designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The first published mention of the Nazca Lines was by Pedro Cieza de León in his book of 1553, he mistook them for trail markers. In 1586, Luis Monzón reported having seen ancient ruins in Peru, including the remains of "roads". Although the lines were visible from the nearby hills, the first to report them were Peruvian military and civilian pilots. In 1927 the Peruvian archaeologist Toribio Mejía Xesspe spotted them while he was hiking through the foothills, he discussed them at a conference in Lima in 1939. Paul Kosok, an American historian from Long Island University, is credited as the first scholar to study the Nazca Lines at length. In Peru in 1940–41 to study ancient irrigation systems, he flew over the lines and realized one was in the shape of a bird. Another chance observation helped him see how lines converged at the winter solstice in the Southern Hemisphere, he began to study how the lines might have been created, as well as to try to determine their purpose.
He was joined by archeologist Richard P. Schaedel from the United States, Maria Reiche, a German mathematician and archaeologist from Lima, to help determine the purpose of the Nazca Lines, they proposed one of the earliest reasons for the existence of the figures: to be markers on the horizon to show where the sun and other celestial bodies rose on significant dates. Archaeologists and mathematicians have all tried to determine the purpose of the lines. Determining how they were made has been easier than determining why they were made. Scholars have theorized the Nazca people could have used simple tools and surveying equipment to construct the lines. Archaeological surveys have found wooden stakes in the ground at the end of some lines, which supports this theory. One such stake was the basis for establishing the age of the design complex. Refuting the hypothesis of Erich von Däniken that the lines had to have been created by "ancient astronauts", prominent skeptic Joe Nickell has reproduced the figures using tools and technology available to the Nazca people.
Scientific American called his work "remarkable in its exactness" when compared to the existing lines. With careful planning and simple technologies, Nickell proved that a small team of people could recreate the largest figures within days, without any aerial assistance. Most of the lines are formed on the ground by a shallow trench with a depth between 15 cm; such trenches were made by removing the reddish-brown iron oxide-coated pebbles that cover the surface of the Nazca Desert. When this gravel is removed, the light-colored clay earth exposed in the bottom of the trench produces lines and contrasts in color and tone with the surrounding land surface; this sublayer contains high amounts of lime which, with the morning mist, hardens to form a protective layer that shields the lines from winds, thereby preventing erosion. The Nazca "drew" several hundred simple, but huge, curvilinear animal and human figures by this technique. In total, the earthwork project is huge and complex: the area encompassing the lines is nearly 450 km2, the largest figures can span nearly 370 m.
Some figures have been measured: the hummingbird is 93 m long, the condor is 134 m, the monkey is 93 by 58 m, the spider is 47 m. The dry and constant
In some Native American cultures, the medicine wheel is a metaphor for a variety of spiritual concepts. A medicine wheel may be a stone monument that illustrates this metaphor; the monuments were constructed by laying stones in a particular pattern on the ground oriented to the four directions. Most medicine wheels follow the basic pattern of having a center of stone, surrounding, an outer ring of stones with "spokes" radiating from the center to the cardinal directions; these stone structures may or may not be called "medicine wheels" by the people whose ancestors built them, but may be called by more specific terms in that nation's language. Physical medicine wheels made of stone were constructed by several different indigenous peoples in North America those of the Plains Indians, they are associated with religious ceremonies. As a metaphor, they may be used in healing work; the medicine wheel has been adopted as a symbol by a number of pan-Indian groups, or other native groups whose ancestors did not traditionally use it as a symbol or structure.
It has been appropriated by non-indigenous people those associated with the hippie, New Age or Neopagan communities. The Royal Alberta Museum holds that the term "medicine wheel" was first applied to the Big Horn Medicine Wheel in Wyoming, the southernmost archeological wheel still extant; the term "medicine" was not applied because of any healing, associated with the medicine wheel, but denotes that the sacred site and rock formations were of central importance and attributed with religious and spiritual significance. As a metaphor, the concept of the sacred hoop of life used by multiple Nations, is sometimes conflated with that of the medicine wheel. A 2007 Indian Country Today article on the history of the modern Hoop Dance defines the dancer's hoop this way: The hoop is symbolic of "the never-ending circle of life." It has no end. Intentionally erecting massive stone structures as sacred architecture is a well-documented activity of ancient monolithic and megalithic peoples. What sets them apart from many of the other megalithic peoples is how non-intrusive and environmentally sensitive the footprint and fabrication of their structures were.
Unlike some of the grand and towering stone monoliths found in Europe, the indigenous peoples of North America laid down smaller stones on the earth, rather than digging deep pits and erecting huge stones, such as at Stonehenge. The Royal Alberta Museum posits the possible point of origin, or parallel tradition, to other round structures such as the tipi lodge, stones used as "foundation stones" or "tent-pegs": Scattered across the plains of Alberta are tens of thousands of stone structures. Most of these are simple circles of cobble stones which once held down the edges of the famous tipi of the Plains Indians. Others, were of a more esoteric nature. Large stone circles – some greater than 12 meters across – may be the remains of special ceremonial dance structures. A few cobble arrangements form the outlines of human figures, most of them male; the most intriguing cobble constructions, are the ones known as medicine wheels. Stone medicine wheels are sited throughout the northern United States and southern Canada South Dakota, Montana and Saskatchewan.
The majority of the 70 documented stone structures still extant are in Alberta, Canada. One of the prototypical medicine wheels is in the Bighorn National Forest in Big Horn County, Wyoming; this 75-foot-diameter wheel has 28 spokes, is part of a vast set of old Native American sites that document 7,000 years of their history in that area. Medicine wheels are found in Ojibwa territory, the common theory is that they were built by the prehistoric ancestors of the Assiniboine people. Larger astronomical and ceremonial petroforms, Hopewell mound building sites are found in North America. In defining the commonalities among different stone medicine wheels, the Royal Alberta Museum cites the definition given by John Brumley, an archaeologist from Medicine Hat, that a medicine wheel "consists of at least two of the following three traits: a central stone cairn, one or more concentric stone circles, and/or two or more stone lines radiating outward from a central point."From the air, Medicine wheels look like a wagon wheel lying on its side.
The wheels can be large. The most common variation between different wheels are the spokes. There is no set number of spokes for a medicine wheel to have although there are 28, the same number of days in a lunar cycle; the spokes within each wheel are evenly spaced, or all the same length. Some medicine wheels will have one particular spoke, longer than the rest; the spokes may start from the center cairn and go out only to the outer ring, others go past the outer ring, some spokes start at the outer ring and go out from there. Sometimes there is a doorway, in the circles; the outer ring of stones will be broken, there will be a stone path leading in to the center of the wheel. Some have additional circles around the outside of the wheel, sometimes attached to spokes or the outer ring, sometimes floating free of the main structure. While alignment with the cardinal directions is common, some medicine wheels are aligned with astronomical phenomena involving the sun, some stars, some planets in relation to the Earth's horizon at that location.
The wheels are considered to be sacred sites, connected in various ways to the builders' particul