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Mysterious pre-Columbian spheres on show in Costa Rican capital

The mysterious pre-Columbian spheres and other objects from an area in southern Costa Rica declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO can now be seen at in an exhibition in San Jose.

Mysterious pre-Columbian spheres on show in Costa Rican capital
The National Museum of Costa Rica opened a show this week entitled "Diquis: World Heritage Site," which presents mysterious stone spheres and other objects from four pre-Columbian indigenous settlements near the town of Osa in the southern province of Puntarenas [Credit: Getty Images]
The National Museum of Costa Rica opened a show this week entitled "Diquis: World Heritage Site," which presents stone spheres and other objects from four pre-Columbian indigenous settlements near the town of Osa in the southern province of Puntarenas.

"This exhibition helps us understand their cultural development. It's important to realize there were societies with a very complex organization at the political, cultural and religious levels," the museum curator, Adrian Badilla, told Efe.

The show includes 67 pre-Columbian objects in stone, ceramic, gold, bone and shell that reveal the creativity and craftsmanship of inhabitants of the Diquis Delta.

"The exhibition tries to show how the spheres are related to other objects including the architecture of homes and other structures," the archaeologist said.

The four archaeological sites were settlements located in the southern part of the country and are examples of the pre-Columbian chiefdom cultures that flourished between 200 A.D. and 1,500 A.D.

The area has spheres from 0.7 to 2.57 meters (2 1/4 to 6 1/2 feet) in diameter, whose use, meaning and method of crafting remain a mystery.

The peculiarity of the spheres lies in the perfection of their forms, as well as in their great number, size, density, and the way they were lined up to form geometrical figures.

"They were symbols of power according to their size. They had a public function and what they were used for depended on their size. The largest were placed in open spaces like plazas, while the smallest had such uses as at the entrance to homes or tombs, as offerings or as ceremonial objects," the curator of the exhibition said.

Last June UNESCO declared the pre-Columbian stone sphere sites on the Diquis Delta to be a World Heritage Site, unique in the world and crafted by the indigenous people for astronomical, social and artistic purposes.

Author: Maria Jose Brenes | Source: EFE [December 22, 2014]

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