The Miami Circle, sometimes called Brickell Point or the Miami River Circle, is a perfect circle located in downtown Miami. An archaeological site made up of holes and basins, it is believed to be the only permanent structure ever cut into limestone bedrock in the entire United States. Though it wasnâ€™t discovered until 1998, the Miami Circle is said to be between 1,700 and 2,000 years old, making it older than other East Coast archeological sites.
An apartment complex covered the Miami Circle until the late 1990â€™s. When the apartment complex was purchased by a developer and torn down — with the intent of building luxury condominiums — an archaeological survey was conducted and the Miami Circle was discovered. Removal of the dirt and soil surrounding the circle revealed tools, charcoal, and even human teeth.
The developer who purchased the apartment complex desired to continue building his luxury condominiums and offered to pay for the Miami Circleâ€™s relocation. Though Miamiâ€™s mayor supported this plan, the public did not: everyone form archaeologists and curators to environmentalists and schoolchildren fought the removal, saying the circleâ€™s integrity would be compromised.
Finally, the State of Florida Preservation 2000 land acquisition program bought the site from the condo builder in November 1999. It was purchased through state funds and donations. In 2002, the Miami Circle (listed as the Brickell Point Site) became part of the National Register of Historic Places.
Initially, it was believed Mayan or Olmec civilizations created the Miami Circle. The artifacts discovered, however, led specialists to conclude the circle was the creation of the Tequesta, a nomadic tribe in the Everglades region of Florida. Known as aggressive warriors and hunters, this tribe was made up of men and women known for killing everything from European settlers to alligators. The Tequesta tribe is believed to have gone extinct due to either war or the foreign illnesses introduced to them through visitors.