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 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 realized 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.
What Were They For?
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 or the product of an unknown ancient civilization.