Robert Carr
Archaeologists uncovered nine circles that may have been residences of the Tequesta.

Illegal Decision Puts Tequesta Native Village Site Under Hotel

Christina Rose

The results of the mediation have left many preservationist parties concerned for the future. “People are afraid this will set a precedent. If you can run around outside the laws, this has a potential impact on future sites,” Pestle said.

Elizabeth Merritt, deputy general counsel at the National Trust for Historic Preservation agreed the way the mediation came about was unusual, but was better than litigation. She said, “We reserve judgement because a successful mediation depends on everyone agreeing. I was surprised the mediation reached a consensus so quickly.”

Merritt called the end result a creative solution. “We have seen some examples in other countries where you can look down in glass, and using glass is a way to protect as well as to allow the local public to see it,” she said. About Pestle’s lawsuit, she said, “There will be a lot to come, and it will be very interesting.”

Early work on the site of the Tequesta Village provided architects with thousands of artifacts and clues to those who lived in the area for 2,000 years. (Robert Carr)

Carr said the decision was better than seeing everything destroyed. “It preserved several specific aspects, and in a sense it was a victory for preservation.” Thousands of artifacts have been removed from the site, which will continue to offer clues about the Tequesta people. Carr’s findings were recently been published in Digging Miami.

Carr is concerned about the lawsuit lodged by Pestle. “If we were to overturn it, we don’t know what the end result would be. We would be back at square one, and there isn’t a guarantee we’d end up in the same place.”


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