Costa Rica Spheres

Giant Stone Spheres of Costa Rica

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Many will be familiar with the opening scene of “Raiders of the Lost Ark” where a giant stone sphere nearly crushes Indiana Jones to death. While everyone recognises the movie as a work of fiction, the giant ancient stone spheres are not.

While clearing the jungle for banana plantations in 1940 in Costa Rica's Diquis Delta region, employees of the United Fruit Company uncovered numerous large stone spheres partly buried in the forest floor. 

Almost immediately, the mysterious spheres became prized ornaments, ending up on the front yards of government buildings and fruit company executives throughout Costa Rica. Many spheres were also broken or damaged and others were dynamited in a time when few realised their archaeological value.

According to John Hoopes, associate professor of anthropology and director of the Global Indigenous Nations Studies Program, around 300 spheres are known to exist, with the largest weighing 16 tonnes and measuring eight feet in diameter, and the smallest being no bigger than a basketball. Almost all of them are made of granodiorite, a hard, igneous stone.

Since their discovery the true purpose of the spheres, which still eludes experts, has been the subject of speculation ranging from theories about the balls being navigational aids, to relics related to Stonehenge, the product of an unknown ancient civilization or visits from extraterrestrials.

Part of the mystery surrounds the way in which they were created as the near-perfect spheres appear to have come from a quarry that was more than 50 miles away and they were created in a time in which metal tools had apparently not been invented yet as it is estimated that the stones were made around 600 AD. However, the dating method for stones is speculative in itself as it really only reveals the latest use of the spheres not when they were first created.

"These objects can be used for centuries and are still sitting where they are after a thousand years. So it's very difficult to say exactly when they were made," explained Hoopes.

However, the biggest mystery remains what they were used for. "We really don't know why they were made," Hoopes said. "The people who made them didn't leave any written records. We're left to archaeological data to try to reconstruct the context. The culture of the people who made them became extinct shortly after the Spanish conquest. So, there are no myths or legends or other stories that are told by the indigenous people of Costa Rica about why they made these spheres."

Much like the Easter Island moai, one theory assumes that the spheres were simply status symbols. The stones, which are now protected by UNESCO, also might have been arranged into massive patterns that had astronomical significance as many of the balls were found to be in alignments, consisting of straight and curved lines, as well as triangles and parallelograms. Since almost every sphere has been moved from its original location, however, researchers are sceptical that the true meaning of the spheres will ever be discovered.

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I once read about round stones being found in the Canadian arctic, but I didn't see a photo. I probably read that on the internet, so of course, it must be true.

These stone balls are even found on Cano Island in the Pacific ocean, which is more than 1 hour away by boat from the Costa Rica mainland.


Could these be a product of past granaries?

So much lost knowledge, such a shame to think our lives could be so much richer!

I've watched a documentary about these huge spheres. One of that explanations about how they made is the melt method. If that stones are magmatic stones (except the hard ones like granite) , maybe they poured hot lava into molds, or had technology could melt the stone and molded them into spheres.

like Moeraki boulders in New Zealand in perfect shape...

Tsurugi's picture

I remember at one of the Megalithomania conferences, one of the presentations included a section on giant stone spheres. There was a detailed description of a huge discovery of these objects in the 1920s on the west coast of the US, in southern California, during the construction of a trolley line. The construction crew was blasting the side of a hill to make way for the line, and literally hundreds of stone spheres came spilling out of the interior of the hill.

I know it sounds crazy, but there were multiple photos of the event shown in the presentation, along with newspaper articles, etc.

I've often wondered what happened to them, and if anything else of interest was discovered...

Aspic, hot concrete, cold concrete, cannon balls....

Barry Sears's picture


The reference above refers to the Moeraki boulders in New Zealand. These are naturally formed, rounded and smoothed by the sea. Keep it simple.

Does dude realize that Costa Rica is not an island?

Barry Sears's picture

These are quite naturally formed. It was probably quite easy to move them also.


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