Man Excavates Artifacts, Natural Spring From Backyard in Brickell

A Native American man who lives in one of the last remaining homes in the Brickell area says there’s no price tag for the land.

He’s in a spot where the past and future collide, and says he's only concerned about conserving water and preserving the ancient mysteries he’s discovered.

Nestled in the hustle and bustle of the ever-changing Brickell area there’s a home that’s hard to miss. Its painted walls and vibrant landscape are a stark contrast to the skyscrapers towering over.

The unique nature of the property, however, goes far beyond the façade. Ishmael "Golden Eagle" Bermudez says the land is sacred.

“I was the first one here before any of these pirates, and the last one here. Because I’m the keeper of the place," he said.

According to Bermudez, he’s discovered all sorts of fossils and artifacts after he began excavating the land in the early 1960s. He credits his middle school teacher with getting him involved in this life-long project.

"We got prehistoric evidence of animals. We got fresh water and we got everything they left behind," Bermudez said.

Bermudez used shovels, sifters, and even his bare hands to excavate much of the area over the last 50 years, and he says there’s still more to be done.

One of the most fascinating discoveries in the 1970s was a natural spring. He’s named it the Well of Ancient Mysteries.

He believes the cork to seal the spring may date back to the time of the Tequesta Indians or even earlier. Local archaeologists say many of the artifacts found on that land correlate with that time period.

"The Tequesta were living next to the river, gathering their food and fishing," Miami-Dade Archaeologist Jeff Ransom said.

Bermudez has animal bones, weapons and pottery. So what's his favorite find?

"Right here! A pipe!" he said.

The Native American man lives in the quaint home with artist Burke Keogh. Together they plan to get the word out on water conservation around the world.

"Don’t just ignore it and turn it into another building. Let’s find out what’s here," Keogh said.

"When I leave here, I will leave naked with nothing. Everything stays here. The way they brought me here. I don’t need nothing," Bermudez said. "This is for the future of Florida, Miami, and the territory of the United States."

Bermudez hopes it will be a museum some day to preserve all that he’s discovered.

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