The Stone Spheres of Diquís

September 25, 2019

In Costa Rica there are spheres or “balls” of pre-Columbian stone d 10 centimeters and up to 2.57 meters the largest. Between 10 kilos to 10 or 15 tons.

They were discovered in 1939 when an American banana company, known as the Standard Fruit Company, began its work for planting bananas in that area.

These rocky spheres are part of the iconic panorama of Central America and are found in some official buildings, streets and emblematic squares of the city of San José. Even on the five hundred colones bill. In 2014, the Costa Rican Balls entered the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Also on July 30, 2014, the Legislature approved declaring the Pre-Columbian Indigenous Spheres as a National Symbol and of public and cultural interest in its study, research, protection, conservation, restoration and recovery. In addition, the Ministry of Public Education must include in the study agendas corresponding to pre-Columbian spheres as a national symbol.

Archaeological studies suggest that the stone spheres were created by the cacical societies of the Delta del Diquís, for ideological, political and ceremonial purposes. They were also used as symbols of rank and social status.

The spheres have also been identified in places where they were placed, according to special patterns and alignments. In this context, they could be related to ceremonies and ritual or spiritual acts where group identity would be reinforced, or they could be temporary markers with which agricultural cycles were controlled and the movement of the sun and the stars in the sky was measured. However, the use and meaning of these sculptures depends on the archaeological context within which they have been identified.