COLOMBIA, April 25, 2013 - The stone spheres of Costa Rica remain a mystery.
Most people know Costa Rica as the small Central American country located between Nicaragua and Panama with enviable spring weather, called the Switzerland of Central America.
It is a country with no army, and one of the lowest crime rates in the world, and a model of democracy. Costa Rica has numerous tourist sites, including forests, lakes, and volcanoes, and is filled with friendly people. The country honors the distinctive slogan, “Pura Vida” which means “Pure Life” to describe the place and the people.
Many do not, however, know about the mystery of the stone spheres in Costa Rica.
In 1939, the United Fruit Company discovered approximately 300 of these stone spheres, of different sizes and weights, in the Delta Disquis when they began operations in that area.
This discovery caught the attention of Samuel K. Lothrop, Archaeologist who in 1948, reached the Central American country to study the spheres. Although he could not determine who had made those stone balls, he did vouch for their authenticity. Based on the sheer number of them, Lothrop stated it could not be a casual coincidental phenomenon. Their perfect roundness and sanded surfaces indicate that someone made them and placed them in this location.
Nobody knows which ethnic culture manufactured them, or what their use was, but anyone can admire the stones. The oldest are dated from 600 of the Christian era, and the more recent is dated the year 1000, before the arrival of the Spanish.
Scientists are also unsure how they moved the larger spheres, weighing as much as 6 tons.
To achieve a perfect sphere with a diameter of 2.30 meters, artisans needed a square block of at least 2.75 meters per side, which would require many people to construct. It would also require many people to move the giant stone. Additionally, it took experienced craftsmen to create polished surfaces.
No wonder that these bulky monoliths captured the imagination of George Lucas’s first film in the Indiana Jones saga, when the main character is haunted by a huge stone ball that threaten to crush him
Real life has its own “Indiana Jones” and some explorers have sought out the stones. Some believed the balls contained gold and broke them open. Others took them home to decorate gardens while others donated them to museums.
The stones are now protected under the United Nations, UNESCO, which declared them the heritage of humanity.
Stones similar to those in Costa Rica exist in New Zealand, Bosnia, Mexico, Argentina, China, Czech Republic, Venezuela and Brazil, among other countries, suggesting a possible universal culture.
Some theorize the stones are the last vestiges of the continent of Atlantis, while others believe the stones are related to Stonehenge and the giant heads on Easter Island (Isla de Pascua). Others believe they were navigational aides, that they were brought by aliens, or created by divine inspiration. Because they are perfectly round, some believe the stones mark the tombs of important chiefs.
There hypotheses for all tastes and all beliefs. Adding to conjecture is the news that NASA’s Curiosity Rover captured an image of the silhouette of a stone ball on Mars. Could it be related to the Costa Rican stone balls?
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