The Mysterious Spheres – Archaeological Site Finca 6

IMG_1395When we were in Sierpe, Osa, a few weeks ago, we kept seeing these large stone spheres everywhere around the town and in fields. Here is one in the park ——–>>

Peter (friend, guide, Sierpe guru) had told us that there were several of these large spheres that were found here in Sierpe in the early 1900’s – one of two places in the whole world. Well, this sounded very interesting. How did they get here? People from a long long time ago? Space aliens from a galaxy far far away? Well, the answers were actually not too far away – we soon found out that they have a museum in Finca (farm) 6 – which is where the most recent spheres were found.

So on our last day in Sierpe, on our way out of town, we stopped by the Archaeological Site Villa 6 Museum. Greg and I got in for $2 each with our residency/folio number paperwork (thanks to Peter vouching for us “Guys – these are my neighbors, they’re good people, trust me!”); otherwise cost would have been $12 per person.

IMG_1586The museum is new and modern (opened in December, 2011), and has oodles of information in both Spanish and English. We all did a lot of reading, and took a few pictures of non-sphere sculptures that were displayed inside.

We learned about the lifestyles of ancient people of Costa Rica who lived in the Diquis Delta, and who were descendants from the Maya people who came south from the upper regions of Mesoamerica. The spheres are believed to have been carved between 200 BC and 1500 AD, and there is some evidence that the spheres were for astronomical reasons, but this is not conclusive. So really, it is still a mystery.

In the early 1930’s, this area was dominated by banana plantations, mainly the Banana Company of Costa Rica (a subsidiary of United Fruit). In fact you can still see evidence in Finca 6 of the old banana hook & pulley system (looks like an miniature ski lift without the chairs):

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At the end of the 1930’s, the banana plantations started leaving (cheaper labor was to be found in other countries), and these sites were cultivated leading to the discovery of pre-Columbian settlements, among which were the stone spheres.

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Peter, being king of the spheres…

The first actual documentation of the spheres was in 1940 by Doris Stone and then in 1948 by Samuel Lothrop in Fincas 4 and 5. This was great – because they documented the groupings and alignments of the sculptures and spheres in their original state. Later, unfortunately, they were altered and moved by agricultural activities and illegal excavations. Finca 6 was later discovered, and most of the spheres found there were in their originals locations.

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Some of the groups of spheres were arranged in lines or triangles. Which of course leads to the question – WHY were they aligned? It is proposed that the spheres could represent constellations, or certain sunrises and sunsets in specific moments of the year. But no one really knows for sure.

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It is also thought that the spheres were used as ranking symbols – for social and political status. The larger and more perfect the sphere, the greater the prestige of the village and its people.

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Greg found his large and perfect sphere.

DSC_0185So – still a mystery, these spheres… but very fascinating, wouldn’t you say!?

That’s all for now folks!

Ciao! — Jen


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13 Responses to The Mysterious Spheres – Archaeological Site Finca 6

  1. Hey Jen,

    Thanks for that great post on CR’s Stone Spheres. I am totally fascinated by them, love the mystery, whets my appetite for imagining how they came to be. Of course, I prefer to believe
    they were brought by aliens, and Perez has some die-hard alien- abduction and sighting folks who meet secretly to watch the flying saucers hover over Chirripo. Cool. Gotta love living in a country with big balls, right?

  2. Love any kind of archeological info. Think I found a small sphere on beach near Uvita. Brought it back of course. Thank you Jen, for your big ball blog!

  3. How wonderful, Jen! It’s history like this that I have an impossible time letting go of in my mind. I’m determined to research it to death.
    A huge passion of mine is stone circles – mainly in Scotland. I think I must have visited hundreds. I adore them – but mostly the out of the way and rarely visited ones.
    Terrific pictures!

    • Shelley – that’s really cool! I had no idea that was a passion of yours and that you have been to Scotland to see the stone circles (I’m not familiar with those). I had no idea about these spheres until we had arrived in Sierpe – it was an added bonus, to be sure!!

  4. Hi Jen,
    I visited the museum a short time back as well and loved it. The spheres bring to mind some of the other unexplained phenomena around the world: Easter Island’s statues, Stonehenge, etc… Of course, the “problem” of how such large, heave stone objects were moved doesn’t apply with the spheres. But how the “primitive” people got those stones so perfectly round is subject for serious coffee-talk. Interesting how “extraterrestrial” is a common feature in these discussions. My theory is that they fashioned a bamboo sourced laser system, (the technology of which has been lost to time), fueled by rotting banana peels.
    I’m enjoying your blog.

  5. Thank you for your information about the spheres.
    What is the best way to get to the FINCA 6 ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITE? We plan to fly to San Jose and travel down to the south.

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