MIAMI, Feb. 5 (UPI) -- A 2,000-year-old Tequesta village was found buried in downtown Miami, the site of a $600 million complex of condominiums, office towers and a movie theater.
The discovery was made after a network of holes was found smack in the center of the Metropolitan Miami complex, and it is believed to belong to the ancient Tequesta tribe. The holes could be the foundations of a village possibly inhabited by the Tequesta tribe until the 1700s, housing close to 1,000 people.
"We got to the point in recent months where we realized this wasn't an isolated circle or structure but a whole complex of buildings," said archaeologist Bob Carr, whose company was hired to conduct a historical analysis of the building site.
The plot belongs to MDM Developer Group, which plans to build a hotel and commercial establishment there, subject to approval from the city. In light of this discovery, MDM has proposed cutting out the limestone, recreating the village using the original holes, and putting it up for display at Met Square. The proposal will be taken up by Miami's Historic Preservation Board, which is scheduled to meet on Feb. 14.
But the plan has conservationists up in arms.
"If you have a book and you tear out a chapter, you lose the integrity of the book," Ryan Franklin of the Archaeological and Historical Conservancy told CNN affiliate WFOR. "You might have this part of it, but you lose part of the story."
The areas of southern Florida occupied by the Tequesta was continuously occupied for more than 2,000 years, the Native American tribe disappeared by the time the British took control of Florida from the Spanish in the 18th century. Some are believed to have migrated to Cuba.