Miami Circle

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Photo: Eduardo Valle

Location: Miami, Florida, USA

Who Considers it Sacred? Native Americans (Taino, Tekesta, Huichol, and Seminole tribes, and others)

Significance: Pre-Columbian historic and sacred site. It’s estimated that the Miami Circle was built about 2000 years ago. Some sort of structure was built leaving the remains of a perfect ring with 30 holes and basins. Remains of a whole shark facing west and a whole turtle facing east suggest ceremonial use.

The Threat: Commercial development

Preservation Status: A condominium complex was to be built on this site, but this was delayed when the site was found. Joshua Billig, a local stonemason hired to destroy the site, refused to do so upon learning of the historic nature of the site. The mayor of Miami-Dade County seized the property under eminent domain after a huge popular outcry. In 2001, Florida’s Secretary of State appointed a group to manage the circle, including Native American tribal representatives from the Semnole and Miccosukee tribes, and a public park is now planned to preserve the site. In 2003, the site was covered with gravel, a tarpaulin and white sand to prevent the deterioration of the site while deciding on the best course of action for preserving the site and developing a plan for public visitation.

For More Information: Miami Circle; Site Saver Newsletter Volume X, Number 1, Fall 1999

Photo: Marc Averette

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