The Mysteries of Pyramid Hill

Pyramid Hill sets along the Sheyenne River in southeast North Dakota.  At first glance, there is not much to see and I nearly rode by without stopping. But, the placard and paved pull-off from the highway caught my attention and I rolled off the throttle. Quirky roadside attractions draw me like a moth to the flame, so I pulled over to see what excitement I could find here and to talk with some local folks working nearby.

Turned out, there was no excitement, but I learned a couple things about that hill in the distance. For example, Pyramid Hill is 100 feet high, but is not really a pyramid. The base is a rectangle 650 feet long and 520 feet wide, and unlike a true pyramid, the top is actually level. And while the other hills in this valley are strewn with rocks and huge boulders, the Pyramid is strangely free of rocks, except for two flat stones laid at the northwest and southwest corners.Nobody knows why, it is one of the mysteries of Pyramid Hill.

From watching the Discovery Channel, I believe geologists would say "glacial action and erosion" carved Mount Rushmore. But we know that is not true and I had trouble believing it about Pyramid Hill. So, exactly how this pyramid was formed or built, is another mystery. But, I found the next theory to be more believable and a lot more interesting.

Local resident Snorri Thorfinnson (imagine going to school with that name) must have some unmentioned archaeological credentials as he seems an authority on ancient peoples. But, without a scientific conclusion to this debate, somebody should call Indiana Jones to investigate and find the real story. I liked it that Native Americans still attach significance to the hill. That makes this next picture special in a culturally insensitive sort of way.

What a great idea for an ancient burial mound that is culturally significant to Native Americans - "let's build a big Viking statue up there!" I understand and support people celebrating their heritage, but somebody should have considered the Native Americans' heritage and culture. Maybe those high storm winds that damaged the Viking a few years ago were sending a message.

I mentioned to the local folks that cell phone service was spotty in these parts. They laughed and pointed out a half-built cell phone tower behind Pyramid Hill. They explained that the residents had raised a fuss about the tower going up behind the hill and stopped construction. A new cell tower is going up in another, less distracting,  location and when it's finished, cell phone coverage will improve. Something to look forward to, if I ever pass that way again. 

I rode off that day and wondered how the fiberglass Viking had defeated AT&T for possession of the mound. I finally decided it was just another mystery of Pyramid Hill.