The history of the Deering Estate at Cutler encompasses many cultures inhabiting the land over thousands of years. Paleo-Indians, Tequestas, Seminoles, Afro-Bahamians, and Anglo-Americans have at different times, lived here, each new group literally following in the footsteps of the preceding group. The evidence that these people left behind recounts the evolutions of human housing on the Miami Rock Ridge, from karst cave dwelling to Mediterrenean Revial Mansion.
The archaeological records found at the Deering Estate represent a comprehensive record of human habitation in South Florida. The Estate grounds are part of the Atlantic Coastal Ridge, which has a rich history dating back 100,000 years. The Cutler Fossil site, located on the Estate, contains the fossilized remains from now extinct animals including peccaries, mammoths, sloths, dire wolves, and saber tooth tigers. This site also contains fossilized remains of early inhabitants found at the Deering Estate. These date back aprroximately 10,000 years. Prior to the discovery of the Cutler Fossil Site, most scientists thought human habitation in Florida dated back only 4,000 years, making the Cutler Fossil one of the most archaeologically significant sites in the Eastern United States. Most of these sensitive artifacts were carefully excavated in 1986 and are part of archive collections at the Historical Museum of Southern Florida and the Florida Museum of Natural History in Gainesville.
Tequestas, or Tekestas, inhabited this area known as "The Hunting Grounds" from about 500