Wednesday 23 June 2021

Costa Rica’s Pre-Columbian Stone Spheres Still a Mystery

Thursday, October 25, 2012 – QNews Costa Rica | Source:  Fijatevos

Costa Rican archeologist Ifigenia Quintanilla confesses those mysterious pre-Columbian stone spheres found in the country’s southern Pacific zone still stump her after two decades of study.

The stone spheres of Costa Rica

- Advertisement -

The scientist has lived in Spain since 1998 but confesses her fascination with the spheres that apparently were made and then abandoned by indigenous tribes. But she isn’t alone.

This past Sept. 27, the National Museum proposed that the spheres, ranging in size from several yards in diameter to small enough for one person to lift, be declared a patrimony of humanity under UNESCO auspices. It is hard to imagine their being rejected.

The national newspaper La Nacion interviewed Quintanilla last month on a visit to this country to examine stone and ceramic artifacts unearthed in a National Museum archaeological dig.

What makes the spheres unique, she says, is the technological sophistication in their crafting, nearly perfect and not only one but hundreds of examples.

- Advertisement -

She says that the “mass production” of these spheres indicates a well organized effort of structured labor rare in Pre-columbian societies. More than 300 have been discovered so far.

Ironically, so far no effort to trim stones for construction such as in the Inca society or that of ancient Egypt have been found. Apparently the early tribes here preferred to build their homes from lighter, more easily accessed materials.

But the spheres were not the only such stonework — hundreds of mecates — grinding stones for corn and cereals — have been discovered in the country, mostly provided with three legs.

Quinanilla discounts fanciful theories of astronomical or astrological significance and sees them as more expressions of creativity hewed out over a thousand years.

“Viewed in a social, political and economic context, they are extraordinary,” she says. She views them as symbols of power — “the power to create.”

Made between about 500 to 1500 A. D. they were concentrated in the Osa canton near the Pacific coast. But, apparently, details of their crafting and their purpose were not sought out by Spanish settlers and have been lost in time.

- Advertisement -

Quintanilla says that UNESCO’s declaration as a human patrimony is not as easy as it would seem. She says that it is”delicate and complex.” Not only must they be authenticated and proven unique but the government must take measures for their protection and preservation.

Commentary: No ancient stone structures were built here before the Spanish came but it is almost as if the native Ticos made spheres to say, “You see, we could have built pyramids and temples if we wanted. But we didn’t, so bugger off.”

Proving to UNESCO that the spheres can be protected may be hard. So many in the last century were carted off as ornaments placed in private gardens that it is a miracle than any remain in situ.

More photos at

- Advertisement -

We strive for accuracy in its reports. But if you see something that doesn’t look right, send us an email. The Q reviews and updates its content regularly to ensure it’s accuracy.

"Rico" is the crazy mind behind the Q media websites, a series of online magazines where everything is Q! In these times of new normal, stay at home. Stay safe. Stay healthy.

Related Articles

Today’s Covid News: Average daily deaths from Covid-19 begins to decline

QCOSTARICA - The week of June 13 to 19 registered a...

Flight paralysis from Canada hits Costa Rica’s tourism

QCOSTARICA - The paralysis of flights from Canada last January hit...


American woman found lifeless in hotel bathroom in Sabana

QCOSTARICA - A sad discovery occurred this Thursday morning in a hotel located in La Sabana, in San José, the lifeless body of a...

Treasury threatens to close doors to Sinpe Móvil to avoid tax evasion

QCOSTARICA - What had been a good tool as a payment mechanism for sellers and businesses, the Ministry of Finance (Treasury) has in its...

Since 2018 MECO has received contracts from the State for more than ¢139 billion

QCOSTARICA - Almost ¢140 billion colones (US$227 million dollars) is the amount the MECO construction company was able to snare for public works contracts...

Will that be Cash or Sinpe Móvil?

QCOSTARICA - Sinpe Móvil is easy to use. From your phone, you can send money to friends, family and pay for things. Or receive...

Weather, friendly locals, cost of living: expats in Mexico, Costa Rica enjoy same things

EXPAT FOCUS (MND) Of course it was no surprise that readers of Mexico News Daily voted Mexico as the No. 1 expat destination in...

The United States will distribute 55 million vaccines against Covid-19 in Latin America, Africa and Asia

QCOSTARICA - The United States presented on Monday a plan to share 55 million doses of coronavirus vaccines worldwide, with approximately 75% of the...

Today’s Vehicle Restriction June 19: only “ODDS” can circulate

Today, Saturday, June 19, only vehicles with "ODD" ending plates CAN circulate The measure is countrywide and applied between 5:00 am and 9:00 pm, save...

The Best Sports To Play On A Beach

Costa Rica has some of the best beaches in the world. The coastline is blessed with golden sand, beautiful palm trees, and perfect blue...

Today’s Vehicle Restriction June 23: plates ending in 5 & 6 CANNOT circulate

Today, Wednesday, June 23, plates ending in 5 & 6 CANNOT circulate. The measure is countrywide and applied between 5:00 am and 9:00 pm, save...


Get our daily newsletter with the latest posts directly in your mailbox. Click on the subscribe and fill out the form. It's that simple!

Log In

Forgot password?

Forgot password?

Enter your account data and we will send you a link to reset your password.

Your password reset link appears to be invalid or expired.

Log in

Privacy Policy

Add to Collection

No Collections

Here you'll find all collections you've created before.