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Prehistoric Human Remains Discovered At Development Site Could Upend Plans For Luxury Condo Tower In Miami

Development of a luxury condo tower in Miami could be stymied by the on-site discovery of prehistoric human remains and artifacts.

The condo site is located in Brickell, the city's financial center.

Archeologists have discovered evidence of a 2,000-year-old civilization called Tequesta at the future home of the 75-story Baccarat Residences in the Brickell financial center of Miami, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal. Findings include postholes from a prehistoric structure and a human cranium buried 6 feet underground. 

Excavation of the 4-acre parcel, which was purchased for $104M by South Florida-developer Related Group in 2013, has been underway for almost a year. A summer 2021 report from the archeologist team recommended that intact portions of the prehistoric site be protected from development if possible, per the WSJ.

A written statement from Related Group said this kind of discovery is not uncommon in the area and has thus far not delayed development plans at other sites. The entire area near the mouth of the Miami River is within an archeological zone, according to a report by local news station NBC 6. In 1998, a project located just across the street from the Baccarat site was upended when evidence of a prehistoric religious structure forced the developer to sell the property back to the city for $26M, per the WSJ.

The fate of the site lies in the hands of the city’s Historic and Environmental Preservation Board, which will decide how to move forward once the excavation is complete. In the meantime, Related is working with the Seminole tribe, which requested that the entire site be excavated in case other remains are found and need to be reburied.