President Laura Chinchilla met with United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and asked the group to include Costa Rica’s stone spheres of Diquís which are located in the south Pacific Coastal region of Costa Rica, to be included on World Heritage List.
The Costa Rican Diquís Spheres have long been considered one of the greatest mysteries of the Americas. Called Las Bolas locally, legends and myth surround these per-Columbian mysterious artifacts.
The Diquis culture was a per-Columbian indigenous culture of Costa Rica that flourished from 700 CE to 1530 CE. The meaning of the word “diquís” means “great waters” or “great river” in the Boruca language and while some experts don’t believe the spheres originated from this tribe, the Boruca indios still live in the area and have a rich cultural presence in Southern Costa Rica.
[A visit to the Boruca village high atop the Talamanca ridge is for the adventurer and can be a nerve shattering, but breathtaking experience. It is day trip from the southern region of Costa Rica but making the journey requires 4 wheel drive and is not for those squeamish on heights. Many travelers turn around, which is no easy feat, before completing the 12 km trip on very narrow ridgeline. In the rain season a slip either way is a death sentence. This tribe is also famous for its exquisite fabric art, handmade, hand dyed, all with natural plants.]
The spheres differ in size ranging from a couple inches to over 6.5 feet (2 meters) in diameter weighing up to 15 tons. Mostly made from gabbro, which is essentially basalt but some were found made from sandstone, a much softer material.
One of the most significant mysteries about these spheres the accuracy to which they were crafted. Diquis orbs have been documented to 96% perfection by way of laser measurements! Some of the best spheres are perhaps the finest examples of precision stone carving in the ancient world.
Archeologists believe the stones were carved between 200 BC and 1500 AD. Unfortunately the only method available for dating the stones is stratigraphy (the arrangement of rocks in layers and distribution rocks), and considering most stones are no longer in their original locations this makes dating even more difficult. Archaeologists have been able to date the artifacts lying around them back to 400 B.C.E. Further, some experts speculate the true age of the spheres dates back 4,000 years, the product of a much older culture. The original culture of the people who made them disappeared after the Spanish conquest, but as stated above many believe the descendents of the culture is the Boruca tribe still living in the area.
Diquis spheres are usually found in geometric patterns, often aligned to point to the earth’s magnetic north leading to speculation that they may have been arranged by people familiar with the use of magnetic compasses, or astronomical alignments. Other ‘mythical’ research points to an ancient seafaring culture following Ley Lines (alleged lines of alignment between and connecting ancient sites, holy places, stone circles, standing stones, magnetic hotspots, etc.) out of the South Pacific. Atlantis theorists weigh in to the myths as well, believing in an ancient seafaring, advanced culture that left its mark on many cultures and regions around the globe before suffering some sort of extinction event. Another interesting note about their placement is that many have been found near ancient grave sites.
Other local legends claim that the native inhabitants had access to some alchemic potion able to soften and re harden the rock. Another that there were precious stones and gold in the center of the stones leading to the destruction of many, how many were destroyed because of this legend is unknown.
Both fact and myth of the Diquís Spheres make them one of the most interesting mysteries of the Americas.
Having these artifacts placed on the World Heritage List will certainly increase awareness and interest and should have the added benefit of stimulating tourist interest as well.
If you are planning a trip and want see these ancient and mysterious artifacts, there are some on display at the courtyard of the National Museum of Costa Rica. For more information this ancient mystery and information on guided tours that cover this topic, please contact The Costa Rica News and our Support Team will be glad to assist you.