The Mysterious Stone Spheres of Costa Rica

The Mysterious Stone Spheres of Costa Rica

Apr 28, 2015|Holbrook in the Field| by Brittany Pendergrass

Stone_spheres_of_Costa_Rica._Museo_Nacional by Rod Tico

Photo by Rod Tico

Central and South America are home to hundreds, if not thousands, of mystifying legends. It is easy to picture the images of giant stone temples, terraced mountain sides, and imposing statutes standing both apart from and a part of the surrounding rainforests. It is as though these ancient structures are at once man-made and natural. In the same way, the myths surrounding these archaeological phenomenon have taken on an element of the supernatural.

One of the most impenetrable mysteries of Central America are the hundreds of nearly perfect, spherical stones that have been discovered across Costa Rica. While it is hard to know the exact date of their creation, scientists and archaeologists agree that they are ancient, dating back at least to 1000 C.E., if not as far back as 200 B.C.E. The stones range in size from massive, eight feet in diameter and sixteen tons to the size of a basketball. First discovered by the United Fruit Company in the early 20th Century, the stones have mostly been removed from their original locations and now occupy the yards of government buildings and wealthy, prominent citizens.

Since the time of their discovery people have wondered how and why the stones were made. Early discoverers, convinced there must be gold inside, took to opening the stones with machinery and dynamite, but found nothing. Of the several dozen stones remaining in their original location, there seems to be some connection to astronomy, with patterns, angles and proportions loosely matching some celestial alignments. It is this reason that there has been renewed interest in the stones over the past decades. With the soaring popularity of T.V. shows such as Ancient Aliens and the stones being featured in such books as Erich von Däniken's Chariot of the Gods in 1971, many myths have resurfaced connecting the stones to alien visitors, Atlantis or other supernatural phenomenon.

While we may never know for sure how and why these massive stones were built, they are sure to continue to captivate the attention of visitors to Costa Rica, just as they have captivated people for the last eighty years and probably much longer.