Miami Circle Park Finally Open to Public; Still Not Sure What It Is

Categories: Local History
Miami Circle 200.JPG
Courtesy of HistoryMiami
The Miami Circle today.
Thirteen years after construction crews working at the mouth of the Miami River stumbled upon some odd circular markings in the dirt which turned out to be one of the most important archaeological sites in the state, the public finally is able to see what all the fuss is about. Figuring out exactly what they are looking at, and what the Miami Circle is, well, that's another issue.

The Miami Circle Park will be officially dedicated next Wednesday. In fact, the park is already open to any public who stumbles off Brickell Avenue just south of the Miami River bridge.

The circle itself is 38ft in diameter and archeologists say it is the circular footprint of a prehistoric structure. A bunch of different ideas have been put forth on what the circle is, everything from a wooden version of Stonehedge to burial grounds, but archaeologists admit they don't know for sure--partially because a layer of gravel on the circle was removed when the site was going to be built over by developers.
 
Original 500.jpg
Courtesy of HistoryMiami
The Miami Circle when it was first excavated in the late 1990s.

Still, experts say the site provided a wealth of well-preserved evidence of Tequesta Indian architecture and that materials found on the site suggest the structure could have been some kind of trade outpost or a spot for ceremonial practices. Even if they can't tell you exactly what it is, they know it's important enough for the county to have spent $26.7 million to purchase the 2.2 acres of prime real estate.

workers on site.JPG
Courtesy of HistoryMiami
Workers putting finishing touches on park.

In January 2009, the site was designated a National Historic Landmark, the 41st historic place in Florida to get that distinction. We're sure Wednesday's event will bring some sharply dressed politicians to the site and a brief presentation will be given. But don't expect the mystery of the Circle to be revealed.

Miami Circle (500).JPG
Courtesy of HistoryMiami
Park is already open.

The park itself is mostly passive with few if any features, besides a picturesque walkway along the river leading to Biscayne Bay. The circle has been covered with a protective layer of limestone to prevent further deterioration, leaving it to look  like a nice landscaped feature but not exactly a historical find. Learn more about the Miami Circle at its website.

The Miami Circle dedication ceremony will take place at Miami Circle Park (401 Brickell Ave., Miami) at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday. For more information call 305-375-1657.

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Hilda Masip
Hilda Masip

HistoryMiami dedicated the Miami Circle Park to the people of South Florida today. We invite you to visit the park and then visit HistoryMiami, the Museum located at 101 West Flagler Street in Downtown Miami to see the artifacts recovered from the Circle site on display. Call 305-375-1492 for information on the museum.

The Truth Is...
The Truth Is...

In addition to a potentially misleading headline, this article lacks basic context and presents an underlying negativism about the project. Decrying the site because of its historical mystery, or the fact that the county spent too much money on "prime real estate", or that the park itself is "passive" merely serves to undercut the importance of the author's subject matter, anyhow. So why even write about local history if its intricacies are such a problem?

What the author could have pointed out is that for more information on the Miami Circle project, you can visit: http://flheritage.com/archaeol...

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