The Miami Circle is located in a 2.2 acre piece of land - Brickell Point - at the mouth of the Miami River where it joins the Biscayne Bay. In July 1998, land developers were in the process of demolishing outdated apartment buildings to make room for some modern condominium skyscrapers, and some workers at the site noticed an area in the limestone containing a big circle approximately 40 feet in diameter and made up of a series of smaller circles. A media frenzy ensued, and archeologists, historic preservationists, and intrigued local citizens flocked to the site to gawk and attempt to determine what the circles might be.
Preliminary acheological excavation
s recovered artifact
s in the earth overlying the limestone, which were presumed to be from the Tequesta tribe of Native Americans based on previous archeological studies performed in the area. Radiocarbon dating
revealed that the site was about 1,900 years old. After much public pressure, the State of Florida’s Division of Historical Resources, Bureau of Archaeological Research began a formal archeological assessment of the site; these studies revealed a total of 30 holes cut into the limestone that all contained intact archeological deposits. The six-week investigation resulted in the state, the county, and local philanthropists and fundraising groups pooling resources to "Save the Circle" and buy the land from the developer; by February 2001, the piece of land was officially owned by the State of Florida.
But What Is It?
Excavation and examination of the artifacts and studies of the formation and positioning of the Miami Circle are still underway, and several theories have been posited. Some believe the circles may represent a portion of the foundation of a large ceremonial structure; others believe the entire circle was built for purely astronomical purposes. It has also been pointed out that the Miami Circle bears similarity in structure to Stonehenge; however, that has not shed much serious scientific light onto the matter. Detractors of the prehistoric theories believe that the circles are somehow related to the septic tank associated with the demolished buildings.
Over 85% of the site has been preserved, which is unusually high for a prehistoric archeological site of these proportions. As artifacts such as sea turtle carapaces, teeth from an extinct species of seal, and stone axes are unearthed and studied, archeologists, geologists, and historic preservationists remain convinced that the Miami Circle represents evidence of an aboriginal Floridian society.