Staff Writer, DL Mullan
Archeology / Tequesta Nation
While construction crews were replacing an area with new waterlines, an intact skeleton of a Native American Indian was discovered. Pine Island Road in Davie, Florida was the site of this historic find.
With pottery and other artifacts dating to around 2000 years ago found near and around the body, the conclusion is that the female, 20-30 years old, and 5 feet tall was an member of the Tequesta.
“It’s either Tequesta or the member of a people that predates the Tequesta,” said Bob Carr of the Archaeological and Historical Conservancy in Davie. “It’s unusually well preserved, considering it’s been under a highway with thousands of cars going over it every day.”
Two contemporary tribes overseeing the remains asked that no photographs be released to the public out of respect for the decedent. Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, as known as NAGPRA, the Seminole and Miccosukee Indian Tribes in South Florida will be taking responsibility for the reburial.
The Tequesta were a small, peaceful, Native American tribe. They were one of the first tribes in South Florida and they settled near Biscayne Bay in the present-day Miami area. They also occupied the Florida Keys at times, and may have had a village on Cape Sable, at the southern end of the Florida peninsula, in the 16th Century. The central town (also called Tequesta) was probably at the mouth of the Miami River. They built many villages at the mouth of the Miami River and along the coastal islands. A village had been at that site at least since 1200. The tribal chief was also called Tequesta. The chief lived in the main village at the mouth of the Miami River.
The Tequesta Indian Nation once lived in Southeastern Florida prior to the arrival of the European settlers. The tribe was moved to Cuba, reportedly, in the 1770's, but mostly likely died out due to disease, slavery, and territorial battles.
For more information about the Tequesta, please visit Florida Tribes: Tequesta Indians.