Stone Sphere

Stone Sphere

AD 800-1500
Culture
Greater Chiriqui
Locale
Diquís Delta
Country
Costa Rica
Style/Tradition
Diquís
sculpture
Gift of Frederick and Jan Mayer
1995.431
. Stone Sphere. AD 800-1500. Gift of Frederick and Jan Mayer. 1995.431.
Dimensions
circumference: 75 in, 190.5000 cm; diameter: 23 3/8 in, 59.3725 cm
Department
Mayer Center, Art of the Ancient Americas
Collection
Art of the Ancient Americas

Stone Sphere
About A.D. 800–1500
Costa Rica, Diquís region
Andesite
Gift of Frederick and Jan Mayer, 1995.431   

Costa Rica’s stone spheres remain one of archaeology’s puzzles.  They range from six inches to over eight feet in diameter; the largest one known weights over 15 tons.  Found primarily in the Diquís delta of southwestern Costa Rica, the spheres functioned as public sculptures at major sites, sometimes arranged in lines or other geometric formations.  Most are made of volcanic rock from the Talamanca mountain range, but neither quarry sites nor stone workshops have been discovered.  While the exact function and meaning of the spheres are unknown, it seems possible that they symbolized celestial bodies; their original arrangements may have conveyed astronomical information.

Exhibition History
  • "Ancient Treasures of Costa Rica: Art and Archaeology of the Rich Coast" Denver Museum of Natural History, 6/23/1990-5/31/1991