In 1939, workers at the American company Standard Fruit Company were clearing a forest in southern Costa Rica to plant bananas when they discovered strange stone spheres, some very large, located in the middle of the forest.
Since then, other spheres of this type have been found in the country. But to this day, archaeologists question the usefulness of such objects and how they were made.
The spheres are believed to have been made around 600 by the Diquí people, who disappeared after the Spanish conquest, but some have been found alongside ceramics from the Aguas Buenas culture, which flourished from 200 BC to 800 AD, while others have been found in burial sites that contained gold ornaments dated to 1000 AD.
The spheres have different sizes and have diameters from seven centimeters to more than two meters, weighing up to 16 tons.
John Hoopes of the University of Kansas, who has studied the stones, believes that possibly all known spheres have already been removed from their original locations or even blown up by treasure hunters and the only way to date the stone spheres is by stratigraphic context, which determines what type of soil constitutes them, since no written or pictorial account exists.
“The spheres could have been made at any time over a period of 1800 years. The first spheres made likely lasted several generations, during which time they may have been moved or even modified. Many of them were found in alignments, consisting of straight and curved lines, as well as triangles and parallelograms. A group of four spheres was found arranged along an alignment oriented to the magnetic north pole. This has led to speculation that they were arranged by people familiar with the use of magnetic compasses or astrological alignments. Unfortunately, all alignments were destroyed when the spheres were removed from their original locations, so measurements recorded nearly 50 years ago can no longer be verified,” says Hoopes.
In an interview for the Colombian newspaper El Tiempo, archaeologist Francisco Corrales, from the National Museum of Costa Rica, said that his team believes that the spheres are a symbol of hierarchy, position and distinction.
The expert explained that the spheres were made with large blocks of stone and carved using tools also made of stone, such as hammers, and then passed through a polishing process.
Local legends claim that ancient people had a potion to soften or smooth the stones.
Some authors suggest that the spheres could have come from the lost continent of Atlantis or that they were made by aliens.