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

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


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.

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.

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


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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