The California Native International Adventures

Since 1983

From The California Native Newsletter:

Costa Rica’s Mysterious Spheres

Mysterious Spheres
Christopher Columbus landed in Costa Rica on his fourth voyage to the New World, in 1502. Prior to that time there was no recorded history of the people who lived there. Archaeologists have since learned much about Costa Rica’s pre-Colombian residents, but many mysteries remain. One of the most puzzling is the mystery of Costa Rica's strange “spheres.”

The spheres are stone balls made of granite. They vary in size from about the size of an orange to giant balls measuring more than six feet in diameter and weighing 16 tons. All are perfectly round to within two centimeters.

Thousands of these balls have been found along river beds and in ancient cemetery sites in the valley of the Río Térraba, located in the southwest portion of Costa Rica, and on Caño Island, nine miles off the Pacific coast. Some of them were found at locations more than fifty miles from the nearest site from which they could have been quarried. They have not been found anywhere else in the world.

Who created these strange spheres? What was their significance to their creators? How did they make them so perfectly round and transport them so far from the source of the stone?

Some archaeologists think they were created by the Chibcha, an ancient war-like people who used prisoners as slaves and human sacrifices and built fortified towns in the region of Costa Rica where the spheres have been found. If so, why and how they were created and transported is still anybody’s guess.

Visitors to Costa Rica can see these spheres displayed at the National Museum, outside of public buildings and decorating the gardens of Costa Rican homes.

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