Celebrate New Archeological National Historic Landmarks
Three new National Historic Landmarks – Miami Circle, New Philadelphia,
and Ludlow Tent Colony – were recently designated. The NPS
National Historic Landmark (NHL) program recognizes places throughout
the United States for their exceptional value or quality in telling the
story of America. Sites designated as NHLs are automatically listed on the
National Register of Historic Places.
Archeological NHLs are designated for providing
significant new knowledge about the past or the potential to provide information.
Oftentimes this information cannot be known any other way except through
archeology, as the three new NHLs attest.
Miami Circle, Miami, Florida
Miami Circle gives up its secrets.
The “Miami Circle” consists of 24 holes or basins cut into the
soft oolitic limestone bedrock on a coastal spit of land. The circle of holes
is surrounded by many “minor” holes. It is believed to be somewhere
between 1700 and 2000 years old, meaning that it predates other known permanent
settlements on the East Coast. The circle is the only known evidence of a
prehistoric permanent structure cut into the bedrock in the United States.
Artifacts such as shell tools, stone axe heads, shark teeth, and other items
point to the Tequesta Indians having built the structure. Other artifacts
included human teeth and charcoal from fires. The site contains early and
late components of the primary village of the Tequesta people, who were one
of the first Native North American groups encountered by Juan Ponce de Leon
The site’s significance lies in well-preserved evidence of American
Indian architecture, considerable materials related to patterns of regional
and long-distance exchange, elements of ceremonialism involving animal interments,
and association with the Tequesta people.
Circle Nomination (pdf)
Circle Site, Florida Division of Historical Resources
New Philadelphia, near Barry, Illinois
Archeologists uncover the past at New Philadelphia.
New Philadelphia was founded in 1836. It is the first known town platted and
officially registered by an African American before the American Civil War.
Frank McWorter, a freedman, subdivided 42 acres of land into lots. He applied
the proceeds of land sales to purchase freedom for enslaved family members.
McWorter purchased his own freedom and that of his wife, four children, and
three grandchildren by the time of his death in 1854. New Philadelphia was
predominantly inhabited by whites, but the concentration of black and mulatto
residents relative to the overall population of Illinois gave it a reputation
as a black town. Construction of the railroad a mile away in the 1830s eventually
brought the end of New Philadelphia in the early twentieth century.
The New Philadelphia Town Site holds high potential to yield information
of major scientific importance to understanding the economic and social
relationships of free, multi-racial rural communities of the nineteenth
century. New Philadelphia can provide nationally significant information
about formerly enslaved individuals and subsequent free born generations
who struggled for autonomy and economic freedom.
Center for Heritage Resource Studies' New Philadelphia website
Landscapes of New Philadelphia, Illinois
New Philadelphia Historic Preservation Foundation
Philadelphia, Teaching With Historic Places
Ludlow Tent Colony, Ludlow, Colorado
Striker family at the Ludlow tent colony.
In 1913, miners began a strike after walking out of the
at Ludlow. They demanded adequate wages, enforcement of state mining laws,
and union recognition. The coal companies evicted the miners from company
housing, so the miners and their families moved into tent colonies set up
by the United Mine Workers of America. On April 20, 1914, the Colorado militia
and thugs hired by coal companies attacked an
encampment of striking miners. Twenty-five people were killed by the end of the day, including fourteen
women and children. The violent attack
ended the first tent colony. Most of the colonists’ personal belongings
were left behind after they fled. Archeologists found the locations of tents,
cellars, and personal belongings. Archeologists also recovered bullets that
provide information on the battle itself, such as expended bullets directed
into the tent colony.
Research at Ludlow Tent Colony research holds potential for addressing
questions of national importance and appropriate to unionism, ethnicity,
country of origin, and the general living conditions experienced by strikers
and their family members throughout the country during the first third of
the 20th century.
Ludlow Tent Colony Site Nomination
Colorado Coal Field War Project,
Colorado Digitization Project