The Sunshine state has lost more of its archaeological history due to downtown Miami development than any other cause, which is how this surprising piece of history was unraveled.
In 1998 workers demolishing an old Miami building on the South side of the Miami River to make room for a brand new condominium building. What was found underneath after demolition was a 38 foot diameter perfect circular pattern of holes cut into the limestone bedrock. One of the greatest finds in Florida archaeological history, but the problem was that it was sitting on top of a $10 million dollar piece of property that would be worth twenty times that amount once developed into a condominium.
Archaeologists from Miami-Dade County Historic Preservation Division examined the circle and determined that the holes were used to support posts for a large, round council house. The circle itself was estimated to have been built 1,700 to 2,000 years ago by the Tequesta Indians who had died out centuries before the Seminole migrated to South FL Peninsula.
Not everyone agreed with the findings. There was talk of it having been the remains of an old centric tanks, however when reexamined it was said to be completely separate from the septic and the old sewage system was clearly visible into the river, and was not part of the ancient circle.
One man populated the idea that the pre-Columbian circle was a part of a worldwide system of ancient circles, giving it the Bicknell Limestone Henge. Others claim that it was a sacred astronomical observatory specifically for marking the passage of time. Opinions of the circle have ranged from having a connection to Atlantis to being a corner marker for the Bermuda triangle.
A contractor was hired to relocate the ancient remains to another place and just before he started work he quit, having changed his mind and saying it should not be moved. That gave the city enough time to hold off construction and purchase the property from Baumann for $26 Million to the Conservation and Recreational Lands Program. He originally was asking $50 million.
Excavating the ancient circle was not easy. After clearing all the old pipes and debris from the previous building they exposed at least two hundred more post holes in the lime stone, in addition to the ones forming the circle. Other features uncovered were a large EYE motif in the stone, twenty four rectangular basins, a complete carapace of a sea turtle, a shark skeleton, and teeth from an extinct sea monk, and a human. However the most curious items found were fragments of copper and galena, along with two small axe heads crafted from basalt. Since nine if these artifacts are indigenous to Florida, this pointed that whatever early people inhabited this site, had an extensive trading network even two thousand years ago.
Severable the artifacts led scientists to believe the site was used for ritualistic ceremonial purposes. This was noted by the shark and turtle remains, which were found in what appeared to be an East – West orientation, perhaps deliberately. A surveyor calculated that the solitary holes found 41 feet on each side of the circle’s center could predict the Autumnal Equinox and the summer and winter solstices. This piece of info added fuel to the theory that the circle was actually a Mayan-built astronomical calendar or some kind of almanac. The eye motif is the Mayan-built symbol for zero.
The idea for the circle being Mayan-built is not so far fetched because we know that the Mayan-built but seagoing canoes and the Yucatan Peninsula is not far from the tip of Florida. It would have been easy for Mayan-built mariners to ride the Gulf Stream to FL but returning home may have been a problem.
The circle became a spectacle. WiFi camera setup on building rooftops nearby, and the circle developed into some kind of shrine, with parishioners believing it had supernatural energies, holding vigils and marches until the land was saved from being built upon.
Here’s the sketchy part…once it was saved and bought by the Conservation And Recreational Land Program…Siting fear of vandalism and lack of funds as an issue, the WHOLE ENTIRE archaeological site has been covered with gravel until more studies can be made. Which..hasn’t happened.
A huge historical and celestial archaeological find and we cover it with gravel. Was this Mayan-built, Tequesta built or were these the ancient survivors if Atlantis that made it to FL.