Miami, FL

What really is the bizarre Miami Circle?

Evie M.

Florida is a pretty weird state. I mean that in the most complimentary way, of course. I love weird. It is my preference. There is a reason so many people flock to vacation in Florida. There's no other place like it. If you spent a little time poking around on the internet or out in the world, the things you learn might change how you look at Florida forever. And no, that's not dramatic. I'm speaking from experience as a California native who saw day-lightning, a massive stork inside my apartment complex, and children wheely-ing on bikes in traffic on her first day here.

No one batted an eye at any of it either.

Case in point: weird.

And, of course, with a weird state come weird myths. And there have to be none weirder than I can find (yet) than the legend of the "Mysterious Miami Circle."

A strange, perfect circle in the ground

Known as "America's Stonehenge," The Miami Circle is a relatively new phenomenon, being first discovered in 1998 after an old building was demolished to reveal "a 38-foot-diameter circular pattern of holes." The holes were described as "perfect" and cut into the limestone.

Of course, science went nuts, seeing that it was the most incredible discovery in modern Florida archaeology. However, they had a massive issue. The land the Circle stood on was worth ten million dollars, and if made into the intended condominium complex, the profit would be "twenty times that amount."

They were truly in a painful dilemma as the holes were examined by archeologists from Miami-Dade County's Historic Preservation Division. The archeologists concluded the holes were "used to support posts for a large round council house."

As for age, the holes were said to be around 1000 to 2000 years old. They were also assumed to be created by the now lost Tequesta Tribe.

The media exploded around the holes, and a massive controversy broke out. Some believe the holes were for overflow from an old septic tank (ew). One guy said the holes were "the Pre-Columbian circle was part of a worldwide system of ancient circles that were somehow connected with Stonehenge." (This theory would later be dubbed "Limestonehenge.")

People worldwide believed the site had magical properties and would come to see it themselves. It got so bad at one point you needed special permission.

Once excavated, a horrible, difficult task, several artifacts surfaced, including tools like ax-heads made from a hard Floridian stone called Basalt. The findings completely smashed the notion that the Tequesta created the Circle because the volcanic rock discovered originated hundreds of miles away in Georgia.

Ultimately, The State of Florida bought the land after dog-fighting for it against several groups, including historic preservation committees. In 2009 the Miami Circle became a National History Landmark, and the Historical Museum of South Florida holds a 44-year lease on it. all the info you could want about the Circle at their exhibit: "First Arrivals: The Archaeology of Southern Florida."

Happily, In 2011, the Miami Circle became a public park with a huge grand opening.

Maybe we might never know just what the Miami Circle was, but I think it's worth a drive down to look. My only question is: Who's coming with me?

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