Destinations, Travel Tips

The mystery of the stone spheres in Costa Rica

The perfection of the sphere has fascinated generations and generations of scientists and artists together; and this is far from being a new phenomenon. Our ancestors seem to have had the same admiration towards it, so they recreated it in such an extraordinary manner that we are still surprised to this day. It is the case of the stone spheres in Costa Rica, the best-known megalithic creations in the area.

Also known as Las Bolas or The Diquis Spheres (because they are located in the Diquis Delta), they were of the  discovered in the 1930’s while the juggle was being cleared in order to make room for plantations. The workers deteriorated and even destroyed many of them while moving the spheres or while trying to discover a treasure inside of them, animated by movies and legends. Predictably, there was no gold inside of them. Fortunately, the authorities intervened and saved what was left, also restoring the affected spheres and sending them to museums.

The spheres were discovered next to pottery belonging to the Aguas Buenas culture, but also next to much older artifacts, so they could have been created any time between 200 BC and 1500 AD. The dating difficulties are also given by the fact that the spheres are not in their original place any more. Many of them decorate important buildings now or can be seen in museums such as the one in San Jose. Two of them were taken to US, one being in Washington and another one at Harvard.

There are over 300 stone spheres that have been discovered so far, ranging from a few centimeters in diameter to 2 meters and a weight of 16 tons. Several types of rock were used for their creation, but most were sculpted in gabbro, a rock similar to granite. No unfinished spheres were discovered so far, this letting room for a lot of hypotheses, many of them being identical to a sci-fi scenario. It was even claimed that the spheres were absolutely perfect, up to a milimetric scale. The truth is however less fascinating: the spheres may have been made with a high degree of accuracy, but they are not perfect.

See also: Costa Rica

Some claim that the spheres were made in Atlantis, others that nature itself is responsible for the creations, while the alien version (far from being a surprise) seems to be the most popular. The ones who support the theory claim that such detail at such a scale could not have been created without some modern technology like the laser, especially as the rock is quite tough. However, archaeologists proved that the rock can be modeled by applying chilled water and hot coals for example, then polishing being enough to reach the desired shape.

What no one knows for sure is why they were created. Originally, they were arranged in alignments that were destroyed as the spheres were moved, so it is believed that their purpose was religious. As the colonists arrived, their legacy ended and the spheres were forgotten until the 20th century.  Now they seem to sparkle much more interest being considered some priceless artifacts that have to be protected as even taken away from their place, they still hold a mysterious air.

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