MIAMI (CBS4) –The Miami Circle Park opened Wednesday, honoring the Tequesta Indians who left their mark at the mouth of the Miami River at least 1500 years ago.

The original Miami Circle is actually below ground level to protect it from the elements. But a perfect replica sitting atop the site will allow visitors to visualize the ancient home. Tequesta Indians once carved a perfect circle of holes into the limestone off what is now Brickell Avenue in downtown Miami.

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A treasure trove of artifacts was unearthed over the past dozen years from dolphin skulls to seashells likely used to form ornamental pendants. And to think, the Miami Circle’s rich history was only salvaged by chance. Archaeologist Robert Carr remembers that day in 1998. He told CBS4’s Michael Williams, “I was driving over the Brickell Bridge. I saw the Brickell apartments were being demolished. Immediately I realized an archaeologist had to be there which led to the discovery of the first segments of the circle.”

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The Miami Circle and its artifacts were salvaged from a place surrounded by the towers of steel and concrete rising around modern Miami. Those artifacts are now in the care of the History Miami Museum. State funding and private donations made possible the opening of the one million dollar plus Miami Circle Park.

Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado said, “This shows progress and history can coexist. We don’t have history. We are a very young city. Whatever history we can get is great.”

That history is now alive for all those looking to peer into a proud and ancient heritage.

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Click here to learn more about the Miami Circle.