|12 August 2010
12 years after discovery, public to get Miami Circle access
If all goes according to plan, the public will have limited access to the Miami Circle (Florida, USA) site by the end of the year. Construction on the park at the mouth of the Miami River in Brickell began in June, said Ryan Wheeler, chief of the state's Bureau of Archaeological Research.
"Things are looking good, now that construction is under way," said Spencer Crowley III, an attorney who represents Miami-Dade County on the board of the Florida Inland Navigation District, which finances shoreline improvements. He said the Florida Department of Environmental Protection last week issued a permit for a stormwater well, a crucial component of the site's drainage system.
The park will be integrated into the Riverwalk project, Dr. Wheeler said, and will include interpretative signage about the history of the property as well as the Miami Circle. Mr. Crowley said an archaeologist is on site at all times during construction to be sure that the fragile structure is not damaged.
The fragility of the 2,000-year-old Native American artifact, uncovered in 1998 during a routine pre-construction survey and now designated a National Historic Landmark, remains an obstacle in allowing direct access to it. At the moment, it's buried under layers of protective limestone. "It would be interesting for people to be able to see the Circle itself," Dr. Wheeler said. "Unfortunately we have not been able to resolve the issue of how to exhibit it and yet keep it safe. There are considerations in terms of both the natural environment and vandalism." He said planners continue to look at future development options, such as some way to let visitors view at least part of the Circle from above, but that would require building a structure over it, and there are no funds for that right now.
Source: Miami Today (5 August 2010)
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