Prehistoric Human Remains Found at Luxury Condo Construction Site

Archaeologists discovered prehistoric human remains and evidence of a prehistoric settlement at the construction site

The discoveries, which were excavated at Baccarat-branded condos by developer Related Group, are evidence of the Native American tribe called the Tequesta, who lived in present-day Miami over 2,000 years ago, said Adrian Espinosa-Valdor, a historic preservation planner and the acting city archaeologist. It is unclear when the discovery was made.

“One of the human remains was a cranium that was found almost 6 feet underground,” Espinosa-Valdor said during a presentation on the findings, according to the Wall Street Journal. “It was intentionally buried, perhaps ceremonial.”

A half-circle and post holes were also discovered, indicating a prehistoric structure. The Seminole Tribe of Florida was consulted when the human remains were found, as required by law. The tribe requested that the entire site be excavated to ensure that any other human remains could be found and reburied at a different location.

In April 2021, archaeologists sent a notice of discovery to the city of Miami for the condo construction site, purchased by Related Group in 2013. Archaeologists have been studying the site since the notice and determined in the summer of 2021 that the site was eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places.

“The site provides important data documenting prehistoric culture, subsistence, and settlement patterns in south Florida,” the report said. ”It is recommended that intact portions of the site be avoided if feasible.”

The discovery was not surprising and does not delay construction plans, Related Group said. However, the city’s Historic and Environmental Preservation Board still needs to make a final ruling once the excavation is complete. Previous board rulings have delayed projects and even canceled projects.

Developers in certain areas of Miami are required to check construction sites for archaeological impact before they can break ground, according to Miami building regulations.

In 1998, a Native American circle was discovered that was likely the location of a religious structure. The developer who bought the land ended up selling it back to the state for $26 million due to public outcry, and it is now a historic landmark called the Miami Circle.

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