The Southern Zone of Costa Rica is home to an amazing collection of stone spheres that go back to as early as 300 AD. In June, 2014, the Pre-Columbian Chiefdom Settlements with the Stone Spheres of the Diquís were included in the UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) list of World Heritage Sites. This marked the area being one of cultural and physical significance.
Palmar Sur, fifteen minutes south of our office, is the site of a series of excavations named Farm 6 which was a settlement that included a cemetery. Monuments and architectural sculpture were found at the site, including two large mounds supported by retaining walls made of local river rock and earth. The site contains multiple locations where the large stone spheres were found.
There more than three hundred of these stone spheres in the area, some in Palmar Sur and others on the Isla Del Caño. The spheres range in size from a few inches to six and one-half feet in diameter. The most commonly used material was gabbro (dark, coarse grained rocks similar to basalt), with a few made from either shell-rich limestone or sandstone. It has been claimed that the spheres are perfect or near perfect in roundness.
Numerous myths exist regarding both the origin of the spheres and their purpose. These myths vary from the idea that the spheres were naturally formed by nature, to the idea that they came from Atlantis. Another theory among the indigenous Bribr people is that the Spheres are “Tara’s cannon balls” and were shot by a giant blowpipe at the gods of winds and hurricanes to drive them from the area.
The Spheres Museum recently opened in Palmar, where you can arrange guided tours with knowledgeable locals.