The stone spheres museum in Palmar Sur opened back its doors last Friday, June the 21st.
The stone spheres, sometimes known as “Las Bolas”, are petrospheres formed of sedimentary rock, crafted into nearly perfect spheres. They were first found in the 1930s by workers of the United Fruit Company on a 10-hectare jungle property being cleared for a banana plantation.
Workers moved the spheres out of their way carelessly, injuring some spheres in the process, and denying the research value of examining the spheres in situ, or where they were located.
Here’s the most interesting detail of the stone spheres: they were made somewhere between 300B.C – 800A.D., long before there were metal tools advanced enough to make such almost-perfect spheres, of a stone substance found nowhere near the stone sphere discovery site and transported vast distances long before the wheel had come to Costa Rica, and beasts of burden were introduced by the Spaniards, in the early 16th century. The spheres are an enigma.
The National Museum’s Archeologist, Francisco Corrales, stated about the UNESCO sphere site and museum, “These stone spheres are an exceptional example of the extraordinary artistic and technical capacity of the pre-Columbian Cacique societies.” He and other pre-Columbian scholars think that the stone spheres were indeed made by the natives of the Diquis, from gabbro (a type of basalt), limestone or sandstone, made by hammering large boulders with smaller stones and finishing the spheres off with a sand polish.
Other scholars and even some scientists believe the mystery of the stone spheres is not that simple. Many have proposed indigenous magic potions, early Herculean craftsmen, and even aliens delivering the spheres and arranging them in a line pointing back to their home planet. The spheres inspire the imagination of everyone who sees or is lucky enough to touch one.
Museo Finca 6 is located on Av. 11, Provincia de Puntarenas, Palmar Norte, in the southern zone.
The museum includes an informational video and historical exhibits, in both English and Spanish, illuminating the lifestyle of early Costa Rican people through their sculptures, pottery, and tools. More information can be found at: www.diquis.go.cr/es/.
In 2017 the United States Embassy donated $38,500 to help maintain and preserve the stone spheres. The donation was made through the Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation Program.
Visitors are invited to tour the grounds, looking and touching stone spheres ranging from perfect condition to slightly damaged balls, from a few centimeters to 16 tons.
It’s easy to see how Ticos view them as a status symbol, representing the history of a powerful, lost civilization, and celebrating the Costa Rica people’s early ancestors. The stone spheres remain a Costa Rican unsolved mystery for the ages.