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Archeology Costa Rica

The stone spheres (or stone balls) of Costa Rica are an assortment of over three hundred petrospheres in Costa Rica, located on the Diquís Delta and on Isla del Caño. Locally, they are known as Las Bolas. The spheres are commonly attributed to the extinct Diquís culture and are sometimes referred to as the Diquís Spheres. They are the best-known stone sculptures of the Isthmo-Colombian area.

 

 

Description

The spheres range in size from a few centimetres to over 2 metres (6.6 ft) in diameter, and weigh up to 15 tons.[3] Most are sculpted from gabbro,the coarse-grained equivalent of basalt. There are a dozen or so made from shell-rich limestone, and another dozen made from a sandstone.

 

Pre-Columbian history

The stones are believed to have been carved between 200 BC and 1500 AD. However the only method available for dating the carved stones is stratigraphy, and most stones are no longer in their original locations. The culture of the people who made them disappeared after the Spanish conquest. Spheres have been found with pottery from the Aguas Buenas culture (dating 200 BC – AD 600) and also they have been discovered with Buenos Aires Polychrome type sculpture (dating 1000 – AD 1500).[5] They have been uncovered in a number of locations, including the Isla del Caño, and over 300 kilometres (190 mi) north of the Diquís Delta in Papagayo on the Nicoya Peninsula.

 

 

Post-contact history

The spheres were discovered in the 1930s as the United Fruit Company was clearing the jungle for banana plantations.Workmen pushed them aside with bulldozers and heavy equipment, damaging some spheres. Additionally, inspired by stories of hidden gold workmen began to drill holes into the spheres and blow them open with sticks of dynamite. Several of the spheres were destroyed before authorities intervened. Some of the dynamited spheres have been reassembled and are currently on display at the National Museum of Costa Rica in San José.

 

Myths

Numerous myths surround the stones, such as they came from Atlantis, or that they were made as such by nature. Some local legends state that the native inhabitants had access to a potion able to soften the rock. Research led by Joseph Davidovits of the Geopolymer Institute in France has been offered in support of this hypothesis,[11] but it is not supported by geological or archaeological evidence. (No one has been able to demonstrate that gabbro, the material from which most of the balls are sculpted, can be worked this way.) In the cosmogony of the Bribri, which is shared by the Cabecares and other American ancestral groups, the stone spheres are “Tara’s cannon balls”. Tara or Tlatchque, the god of thunder, used a giant blowpipe to shoot the balls at the Serkes, gods of winds and hurricanes, in order to drive them out of these lands.

It has been claimed that the spheres are perfect, or very near perfect in roundness, although some spheres are known to vary by 5 centimetres (2.0 in) in diameter until 257 centimetres (104 in). Also the stones have been damaged and eroded over the years, and so it is impossible to know exactly their original shape.

 

 

Guayabo de Turrialba

Is an archeological site located in Turrialba, Costa Rica. The site is of great archeological and cultural importance even though only a very small portion of the city has been uncovered and studied. The monument covers 540 acres (218 ha) and is located on the forested southern slope of Turrialba Volcano. The settlement was occupied between 1000 BC and 1400 AD after which it was mysteriously abandoned. The reason is still unclear and the Spanish Conquistadors and settlers did not leave any record as to whether they found the ruins.

The pre-history and significance of the site are still unclear, however it seems to have been inhabited since 1000 BC. Guayabo’s development peaked c. 800 AD with approximately 10,000 people living there. Abandoned by 1400 AD, Guayabo is believed to be an important cultural, political and religious center but specific details have yet to be discovered.

The site contains a wide array of stone paved streets, round platforms which were the base for wooden structures, aqueducts, ponds, carved stone designs and drawings of animals.

On July 10, 2009, it was declared an International Historic Civil Engineering Landmark by the American Society of Civil Engineers.