Uncovering a 2,000-Year-Old Mystery in Downtown Miami Developer Clashes with Archaeologists When Remnants of Ancientcivilization Are Discovered during Building Project

By Warren Richey, writer of The Christian Science Monitor | The Christian Science Monitor, February 8, 1999 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Uncovering a 2,000-Year-Old Mystery in Downtown Miami Developer Clashes with Archaeologists When Remnants of Ancientcivilization Are Discovered during Building Project


Warren Richey, writer of The Christian Science Monitor, The Christian Science Monitor


Usually when archaeologists discover a significant site containing 2,000-year-old artifacts, it is cause for celebration. But a major find in the heart of Miami has left scientists, developers, and government officials literally caught between a rock and a hard place.

The rock is a piece of limestone bedrock into which an ancient people carved a series of holes that form a perfect 38-foot circle. Archaeologists believe it is part of the foundation of a temple or council house for the Tequesta Indians who populated southeast Florida long before the arrival in 1513 of Ponce de Len, the first of the European explorers.

The problem is that the archaeological dig is in the center of a 2.2-acre piece of prime real estate on the Miami River's south bank, which is slated to house a $100 million high-rise condominium and commercial complex. The city of Miami already issued a building permit, and the developer is ready to start construction. The dilemma: whether to preserve the site as an archaeological treasure or permit the developer to encase much of the site in huge concrete foundation slabs. Efforts have been launched to find a middle ground, like the suggestion that the bedrock structure be cut free, moved, and reassembled at another location. Proponents of keeping the site intact suggest that the developer redesign his project to permit the archaeological exploration to continue undisturbed. Another proposal is to allow the developer to build his project on what is now a public park a block away and move the park to the dig site. So far developer Michael Baumann says his land is not for sale, and he's given archaeologists until Feb. 26 to finish up before his bulldozers and cranes swing into action. "This is a unique piece of human history that no one had ever seen before," says Robert Carr, Miami-Dade County Historic Preservation Division director. IT HAS been well documented that the Tequesta populated a major settlement on land that is now Miami. But all evidence placed the settlement on the north bank of the river. This is the first indication that the Tequesta maintained at least one building - perhaps a special temple or meeting house - apart from the main settlement. Estimates are that the circle is 500 to 800 years old. But some artifacts at the site date back 2,000 years. Archaeologists have never before seen this type of bedrock carving at Tequesta settlements.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Uncovering a 2,000-Year-Old Mystery in Downtown Miami Developer Clashes with Archaeologists When Remnants of Ancientcivilization Are Discovered during Building Project
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?