Historical Museum of Southern Florida
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The River Meets the Bay
The Glades Culture
500 B.C. - A.D. 1763

Gradual improvements in technology, along with the rich and diverse resources provided by wetlands, hammocks, and coastal ridges, enabled prehistoric populations to expand in size and spread throughout southern Florida. The Miami River served as a link between the interior Everglades, the coastal upland ridge, Biscayne Bay, and the barrier islands.

Miami Circle under construction
The mouth of the river was a strategic location at which the Tequesta Indians developed a major village. The village, called “Tequesta,” was located on both sides of the river and supported a large community. Proximity to the Everglades, Biscayne Bay, and offshore reefs gave Tequesta Indians access to a bounty of plants and animals for food and raw materials for the production of tools and crafts.

In 1998 archaeologists uncovered part of the Tequesta village on the south bank of the Miami River. Carved into the limestone bedrock were postholes to support a large structure, perhaps a ceremonial or chief's house. Decorated ceramics, stone axes, carved bone, and ceremonial offerings were found mixed with the dense bone and shell refuse of the site. This discovery, along with excavations on the north bank of the river in 1978, revealed 2000 years of human settlement at the mouth of the river.


Miami Circle