Spheres or “balls” of Costa Rica
Spheres or “balls” of Costa Rica

Spheres or “balls” of Costa Rica

In Costa Rica, there are reported about 500 petro-spheres, mostly located in the south part of Costa Rica, in places like Delta of River Diquís, a section of Osa, and Caño Island. The colloquial expression in Costa Rica for these spheres is “Bolas de Costa Rica” (Balls of Costa Rica). They are considered unique in the world, due to their size, spherical perfection, and foreign abstraction compared to the natural model of a rock. Its sizes may vary between 10cm to 2.57 meters in diameter and they can weigh up to sixteen tons approximately. They are sculpted in materials such as granodiorite, gabbro, and calcite. The archeologists have dated these spheres around 300 b.C. and 300 a.C. due to antique settlements that have been found neighboring the area surrounding the spheres; in spite, some of the archeologists have said that these areas have been inhabited since 6000 b.C. Because of this, the dating of the spheres is not very exact, and rock is not organic, so it can´t be really dated, it is just an estimate. The spheres, most of them, have lost their original location because when they were first found, people thought that they had gold inside and got blown up, others were stolen from their original place to be transported to decorate gardens and houses. Fortunately, most of them have been recuperated by the government and now are owned by international and national museums, private collections, or in important places like embassies.

They were discovered for the first time in 1939, by the banana producer Standard Fruit Company, because these Companies were installed there. They were first named internationally in an article for a magazine called American Antiquity, by Doris Stone in 1943. This article talks about the southern part of Costa Rica, its indigenous territories, and the problem with the “huaqueros” (treasure hunters), that destroy antique sites and steal what they find.

In 1970, the petro spheres got protected by the Costa Rican government and the spheres that were destroyed, were re ensembled again by the Museum of Costa Rica, and lots of them that were moved from their original place were recuperated.


In 1982, the architect Ivar Zaap wanted to inquire furthermore into the original locations and their real purpose. He proposed, along with his students, to look for alignments between archeological objects and their geographical orientation between themselves. They took into account, a legend that talks about the pre-Columbian era, beneath the Chirripó Mountain, was buried a flying machine. The architect Ivar, convinced himself even more than the spheres, fulfilled in some time, the purpose of navigation and astronomical knowledge. He analyzed the orientation of some of the alignments and there is one in special that has an alignment of 19° southwest and parting from Palmar Sur, one can trace a straight line, passing through the Coco Island, Galápagos Island, down to the Pascua Island. This was proven by the aviator Carlos Araya, who traveled in a straight line from the Pascua Island, with a minimum detour of 70 kilometers.

A book called “Atlantis in America” (Atlántis en América), written by Ivar Zaap and George Erikson, talks about a naval culture and maybe the possibility of the lost land of Atlantis had a center in Costa Rica. In the description of Plato about Atlantis, about the columns of Hercules, starting from an astronomical knowledge, the place that he might be talking about is the Sierpe River and the Island of Violines. It is said that there was an unknown naval civilization very developed that Plato referred to and according to Ivar in his book, “Atlante” means “man of the water” (navigator).  The navigator had to have complete knowledge of the sky because that was the way they oriented themselves. For this writer/architect, the meaning of the spheres is the spheres in the sky, like the sun, the moon, the planets, and the stars.

Another myth or legend comes from the Bri Bri and Cabecar cosmogony. It narrates the story about the “cannonballs of Tara” (in Bri Bri dialect and Tlachque in Cabécar) God of Thunder, with his immense blowpipe, threw these spheres to the Serkes (Gods of the winds and hurricanes) to ward them off from these lands.


At present days, in farm #6 at Palmar Sur in the section of Osa, the Park Can Basat Roje (Park of the Spheres of Stone) to assign a place for the recuperated spheres that we no longer know its original location. This park is a big part of an enormous archeological project, in charge of the National Museum of Costa Rica and the support of the famous sculptor Jorge Jiménez Deredia. In the year 2010, the investigators of the University of Kansas, from the World Heritage Center and the International Council of Museums, visited this archeological site to evaluate the eligibility and protection from the World Heritage Center as a World Heritage. In the last months of 2012, the country finished all the paperwork required by the World Heritage Center to soon be chosen as a world heritage.

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