stone spheres

The Stone Spheres of Costa Rica

The Stone Spheres of Costa Rica are a national treasure and curiosity. They’re a part of the country’s ancient history where mysticism ruled the land. These stones are one of the key reminders of where this area of the world came from. Ticos are still proud of its history and will always take the time to talk to you about the culture of their country.

What are They?

These stone's are a collection of three hundred located on the Isla de Caño. They’re referred to by the locals as Las Bolas. They’re connected with the Diquís culture, which is now extinct. Some of the spheres can be as small as just a few centimetres to 2 metres in diameter. The biggest spheres weigh about 15 tons.

They’re made from gabbro, which is the equivalent of coarse-grained basalt. About 12 of the spheres are made from limestone, with another dozen made from sandstone. The sandstone stones are the most fragile.

Scientists have deduced they could have been carved as early as 200BC. They can’t get an exact date because these stones were removed following the Spanish conquest and the reign of the Spanish Empire over much of Central America and the Caribbean.

The Stones of Atlantis

The lost land of Atlantis has always played a major part in myths and legends around the world. Some people have suggested these stones come from Atlantis. Local legends state the inhabitants of the land used special potions to soften the rock. No geological or archaeological evidence has come out in support of this.

At the same time, though, nobody has managed to prove gabbro can be worked in this way. The way the stones spheres were crafted to create such smooth and round shapes has been lost to history.

A Godly War

Other legends state these are the cannon balls of Tara, or Tlatchque. He’s the god of thunder. According to the cosmogony of the Bribri peoples, as well as other ancestral groups in Costa Rica, Tara used a giant blowpipe to fire these balls at Serkes.

Serkes is the god of winds and hurricanes. Their legends state Serkes once ruled over Costa Rica and caused frequent winds to harass the people living here. Tara saved them and removed Serkes from the area.

The Perfect Circle

There’s such a thing as a mathematically perfect circle. Some claim these spheres were originally perfectly rounded. This is impossible to prove or disprove due to the erosion of the stones over the years. Some of the stone spheres are slightly out by about five centimetres, whereas others have lost their original shapes.

What Do They Mean?

The Stone Spheres of Costa Rica mean different things to different people. The University of Costa Rica has one sitting in its main grounds. It uses it to symbolise ancient knowledge and wisdom. Others have served as inspiration for sculptures like the 18m Flower of Life in Terra Campus in Tres Rios.

The Costa Rica Art Museum has four of them strung up as part of giant sculpture to illustrate ancient mysticism. Either way, they’ve become an integral component of this nation’s culture and heritage.


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