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THE PRECOLOMBIAN SPHERES OF COSTA RICA

THE PRECOLOMBIAN SPHERES OF COSTA RICA

Since my childhood I have known the carved stone spheres of San José parks, government institutions, and even gardens of some houses in the Central Valley. They were decorative objects that came from the south of the country. But their origin and function were and still are a mystery …

stone spheres costa rica

The spheres Diquis

We do not know exactly who built them or why, but they are an example of the know-how of the Indian peoples existing before the arrival of the Europeans in America and who populated the territories located between what is today Costa Rica and Panama.

The history of stone spheres began in the 1940s. At that time, part of Costa Rica’s history was written in close connection with the development of banana farming by the United States company “United Fruit Company”. “.

The “YUNAI”, as the Costa Ricans had dubbed the company, was preparing land in the south of the country to plant banana trees when accidentally two workers discovered the first spheres.

sphere costa rica

From this event, the spheres have been the subject of discussions and theories of all kinds: they were built by extraterrestrials, or they are the symbols of the social and political organization of the Indian peoples from the Diquis region (South of the country). On the other hand, the peoples of the North of the continent (Mayas and Aztec) or those of the South (Incas among others) had chosen the verticality of the Pyramid to symbolize their social and political organization.

The places where the spheres were discovered have unfortunately not been respected and many spheres have been removed from their original location. So we have unfortunately lost the basic information.

Today, thanks to the efforts of specialized researchers of the National Museum and the community of Palmar North and Palmar South, the park of the spheres “Finca 6” was created: it is an archaeological site located in “Palmar On de Osa “where is the largest concentration of stone spheres of our country. This site was declared World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2014.

What we know about spheres today

sphere costa rica

Spheres are sculptures that were present in public places frequented by Indian communities in the area. They were built continuously for at least 1000 years (between 400 and 1500 AD) until the arrival of the Spaniards in the New World.

From the year 500 of our Era, the excavations show that there existed a complex social organization, a tribal organization with leaders (“cacicasgos”), a redistribution of lands, as well as a specialization of agricultural and artisanal productions. .

The construction of the spheres implied a decision and an organization of the collective work, but also an important effort to realize these perfectly round works.

More than 200 stone spheres have been inventoried to date, all of different sizes since their diameter varies from 2.5 cm to 30 cm, the average being 150 cm.

The continuous manufacture of the spheres and their locations, located exclusively in the South of the country, show the importance of these sculptures for our culture.

In spite of their mystery, they differentiate us from the countries of Northern Central America and remain, for us Costa Ricans, one of the symbols of our identity.

You can observe these spheres by going to Corcovado

 

 

 

 

Author: Gabriela Mata

 

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