Ancient village found in Miami 'probably best-preserved prehistoric town plan in eastern North America'
Complex of prehistoric buildings could have house as many as 1,000 people
Builders at a $600 million condominium and office towers in Miami, Florida have made a most remarkable find. Holes discovered there lay out the foundations of a prehistoric settlement of the ancient Tequesta tribe at the confluence of the Miami River and Biscayne Bay. "In some ways, I would say it's probably the best-preserved prehistoric town plan in eastern North America," archaeologist Bob Carr says.
The Tequesta tribe lived in what's now the metropolitan Miami area until the 1700s. The holes recently discovered held pine posts, pictured, that framed their thatched buildings.
"We got to the point in recent months where we realized this wasn't an isolated circle or structure but a whole complex of buildings," Carr says. The settlement is likely to have been home to hundreds of people, perhaps as many as 1,000, he added.
This beautiful print will look lovely in your home!
Carr's archaeological team has unearthed several thousand holes since last October. The holes have been carved into the limestone that makes up Miami's bedrock. In addition to the circular layouts, the team found linear structures Carr said may have been boardwalks for the waterfront settlement.
A more modern find at the area are the foundations of the Royal Palm Hotel, one of the resorts built by legendary Florida developer Henry Flagler in the late 19th century. The post holes and various pieces of pottery recovered at the site over the years however date back as far as 500-600 B.C., Carr said.
This does put a crimp in development plans. The archaeological discovery means a new hurdle for the Metropolitan Miami complex, which is nearing completion. City officials still have to sign off on the final plans.
"This is the last element of a very extensive downtown development project, all of which has been hugely successful," Gene Stearns, a lawyer for the Metropolitan Miami developers says.
One suggestion is that the structure should be paired with a model of the native village based on the layout Carr's team has discovered, Stearns said.
"The point of it is to create knowledge -- not just to save things but to understand them," Stearns said. The company's plan would allow the public to learn more about the site than they would if the site were simply preserved as is, as another Tequesta site nearby -- the "Miami Circle," identified in 1998 -- has been, he said.
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