Stone spheres of Costa Rica
The stone spheres of Costa Rica are an assortment of over three hundred petrospheres in Costa Rica, located on the Diquís Delta and on Isla del Caño. Locally, they are known as Las Bolas; the spheres are attributed to the extinct Diquis culture and are sometimes referred to as the Diquís Spheres. They are the best-known stone sculptures of the Isthmo-Colombian area, they are thought to have been placed in lines along the approach to the houses of chiefs, but their exact significance remains uncertain. The Palmar Sur Archeological Excavations are a series of excavations of a site located in the southern portion of Costa Rica, known as the Diquís Delta; the excavations have centered on a site known as "Farm 6", dating back to the Aguas Buenas Period and Chiriquí Period. In June 2014, the Precolumbian Chiefdom Settlements with Stone Spheres of the Diquis was added to the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites; the spheres range in size from a few centimetres to over 2 metres in diameter, weigh up to 15 tons.
Most are sculpted from the coarse-grained equivalent of basalt. There are a dozen or so made from shell-rich limestone, another dozen made from a sandstone, they appear to have been made by hammering natural boulders with other rocks polishing with sand. The degree of finishing and precision of working varies considerably; the gabbro came from sites in the hills, several kilometres away from where the finished spheres are found, though some unfinished spheres remain in the hills. They are used for decoration; the archaeological site of Palmar Sur is located in the southern portion of Costa Rica, known as the Diquís Delta, in the southernmost part of the Puntarenas Province. The Diquís Delta is defined as the alluvial plain with the geographical boundaries of the Fila Grisera to the north and east, the Pacific Ocean to the west, the Osa Mountains comprising the southern boundary; the Site is located in southern Costa Rica. The site is located on 10 hectares of property, owned by the United Fruit Company in the alluvial plain of the Térraba River.
The archaeological site of Farm 6 has been dated to the Aguas Buenas Chiriquí Period. It was a multifunctional site accommodating a settlement and a cemetery, remains of monumental architecture and sculpture are present on the site; the monumental architecture consists of two mounds which were constructed with retaining walls made of rounded river cobbles and filled with earth. The site contains multiple locations. Additionally, since many of the stone spheres in the region were removed from their original locations and serve as landscape decoration, the site has become a storage location for spheres that have been returned to the National Museum. One of the neighboring towns to Farm 6 had spheres or "esferas", they were called "zanahoriagas", for their more oval-like shape. The stones are believed to have been first created around the year 600, with most dating to after 1000 but before the Spanish conquest; the only method available for dating the carved stones is stratigraphy, but most stones are no longer in their original locations.
The culture of the people who made them disappeared after the Spanish conquest. The spheres were discovered in the 1930s as the United Fruit Company was clearing the jungle for banana plantations. Workmen pushed them aside with heavy equipment, damaging some spheres. Additionally, inspired by stories of hidden gold, workmen began to drill holes into the spheres and blow them open with sticks of dynamite. Several of the spheres were destroyed; some of the dynamited spheres have been reassembled and are on display at the National Museum of Costa Rica in San José. The first scientific investigation of the spheres was undertaken shortly after their discovery by Doris Stone, a daughter of a United Fruit executive; these were published in 1943 in American Antiquity, attracting the attention of Samuel Kirkland Lothrop of the Peabody Museum at Harvard University. In 1948, he and his wife attempted to excavate an unrelated archaeological site in the northern region of Costa Rica; the government had just disbanded its professional army, the resulting civil unrest threatened the security of Lothrop's team.
In San José he met Doris Stone, who directed the group toward the Diquís Delta region in the southwest and provided them with valuable dig sites and personal contacts. Lothrop's findings were published in Archaeology of the Diquís Delta, Costa Rica 1963. In 2010, University of Kansas researcher John Hoopes visited the site of the Stone Spheres to evaluate their eligibility for protection as a Unesco World Heritage Site. Before the arrival of the Companía Bananera de Costa Rica, a branch of the United Fruit Company, banana plantations in the 1930s, vegetation in this area offered a great deal of biodiversity in both plant and animal resources. Resources available to Precolumbian inhabitants in this alluvial plain consisted of riverine and ocean resources, including mangrove forests located in the Terraba and Sierpe Rivers; the rich alluvial soils of this region facilitated historical agriculture since the 1930s. The United Fruit Company dominated this southern region with banana plantations as early as the 1920s in Parrita and Quepos.
The UFCO entered Palmar Sur in the 1930s under the name of Companía Bananera de Costa Rica in an effort to avoid antimonopoly legislature. Today the landscape is still carved into agricultural fields which are owned by co-ops a
Costa Rica the Republic of Costa Rica, is a country in Central America, bordered by Nicaragua to the north, the Caribbean Sea to the northeast, Panama to the southeast, the Pacific Ocean to the southwest, Ecuador to the south of Cocos Island. It has a population of around 5 million in a land area of 51,060 square kilometers. An estimated 333,980 people live in the capital and largest city, San José with around 2 million people in the surrounding metropolitan area; the sovereign state of Costa Rica is a unitary presidential constitutional republic. It is known for its long-standing and stable democracy, for its educated workforce, most of whom speak English; the country spends 6.9% of its budget on education, compared to a global average of 4.4%. Its economy, once dependent on agriculture, has diversified to include sectors such as finance, corporate services for foreign companies and ecotourism. Many foreign manufacturing and services companies operate in Costa Rica's Free Trade Zones where they benefit from investment and tax incentives.
Costa Rica was facing a market liquidity crisis in 2017 due to a growing budget deficit. By August 2017, the Treasury was having difficulty paying its obligations. Other challenges facing the country in its attempts to improve the economy by increasing foreign investment include a poor infrastructure and a need to improve public sector efficiency. Costa Rica was sparsely inhabited by indigenous peoples before coming under Spanish rule in the 16th century, it remained a peripheral colony of the empire until independence as part of the First Mexican Empire, followed by membership in the United Provinces of Central America, from which it formally declared independence in 1847. Since Costa Rica has remained among the most stable and progressive nations in Latin America. Following the brief Costa Rican Civil War, it permanently abolished its army in 1949, becoming one of only a few sovereign nations without a standing army; the country has performed favorably in the Human Development Index, placing 69th in the world as of 2015, among the highest of any Latin American nation.
It has been cited by the United Nations Development Programme as having attained much higher human development than other countries at the same income levels, with a better record on human development and inequality than the median of the region. Costa Rica has progressive environmental policies, it is the only country to meet all five UNDP criteria established to measure environmental sustainability. It was ranked 42nd in the world, third in the Americas, in the 2016 Environmental Performance Index, was twice ranked the best performing country in the New Economics Foundation's Happy Planet Index, which measures environmental sustainability, was identified by the NEF as the greenest country in the world in 2009. Costa Rica plans to become a carbon-neutral country by 2021. By 2016, 98.1% of its electricity was generated from green sources hydro, solar and biomass. Historians have classified the indigenous people of Costa Rica as belonging to the Intermediate Area, where the peripheries of the Mesoamerican and Andean native cultures overlapped.
More pre-Columbian Costa Rica has been described as part of the Isthmo-Colombian Area. Stone tools, the oldest evidence of human occupation in Costa Rica, are associated with the arrival of various groups of hunter-gatherers about 10,000 to 7,000 years BCE in the Turrialba Valley; the presence of Clovis culture type spearheads and arrows from South America opens the possibility that, in this area, two different cultures coexisted. Agriculture became evident in the populations, they grew tubers and roots. For the first and second millennia BCE there were settled farming communities; these were small and scattered, although the timing of the transition from hunting and gathering to agriculture as the main livelihood in the territory is still unknown. The earliest use of pottery appears around 2,000 to 3,000 BCE. Shards of pots, cylindrical vases, platters and other forms of vases decorated with grooves and some modelled after animals have been found; the impact of indigenous peoples on modern Costa Rican culture has been small compared to other nations, since the country lacked a strong native civilization to begin with.
Most of the native population was absorbed into the Spanish-speaking colonial society through inter-marriage, except for some small remnants, the most significant of which are the Bribri and Boruca tribes who still inhabit the mountains of the Cordillera de Talamanca, in the southeastern part of Costa Rica, near the frontier with Panama. The name la costa rica, meaning "rich coast" in the Spanish language, was in some accounts first applied by Christopher Columbus, who sailed to the eastern shores of Costa Rica during his final voyage in 1502, reported vast quantities of gold jewelry worn by natives; the name may have come from conquistador Gil González Dávila, who landed on the west coast in 1522, encountered natives, appropriated some of their gold. During most of the colonial period, Costa Rica was the southernmost province of the Captaincy General of Guatemala, nominally part of the Viceroyalty of New Spain. In practice, the captaincy general was a autonomous entity within the Spanish Empire.
Costa Rica's distance from the capital of the captaincy in Guatemala, its legal prohibition under Spanish law from trade with its southern neighbor Panama part of the Viceroyalty of New Granada, lack of r
The Pre-Columbian era incorporates all period subdivisions in the history and prehistory of the Americas before the appearance of significant European influences on the American continent, spanning the time of the original settlement in the Upper Paleolithic period to European colonization during the Early Modern period. While the phrase "pre-Columbian era" refers only to the time preceding Christopher Columbus's voyages of 1492, in practice the phrase is used to denote the entire history of indigenous Americas cultures until those cultures were exterminated, diminished, or extensively altered by Europeans if this happened decades or centuries after Columbus's first landing. For this reason the alternative terms of Precontact Americas, Pre-Colonial Americas or Prehistoric Americas are in use. In areas of Latin America the term used is Pre-Hispanic. Many pre-Columbian civilizations established hallmarks which included permanent settlements, agriculture and monumental architecture, major earthworks, complex societal hierarchies.
Some of these civilizations had long faded by the time of the first permanent European colonies and the arrival of enslaved Africans, are known only through archaeological investigations and oral history. Other civilizations were contemporary with the colonial period and were described in European historical accounts of the time. A few, such as the Maya civilization, had their own written records; because many Christian Europeans of the time viewed such texts as heretical, men like Diego de Landa destroyed many texts in pyres while seeking to preserve native histories. Only a few hidden documents have survived in their original languages, while others were transcribed or dictated into Spanish, giving modern historians glimpses of ancient culture and knowledge. Indigenous American cultures continue to evolve after the pre-Columbian era. Many of these peoples and their descendants continue traditional practices while evolving and adapting new cultural practices and technologies into their lives.
Before the development of archaeology in the 19th century, historians of the pre-Columbian period interpreted the records of the European conquerors and the accounts of early European travelers and antiquaries. It was not until the nineteenth century that the work of men such as John Lloyd Stephens, Eduard Seler and Alfred P. Maudslay, of institutions such as the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology of Harvard University, led to the reconsideration and criticism of the European sources. Now, the scholarly study of pre-Columbian cultures is most based on scientific and multidisciplinary methodologies. Asian nomads are thought to have entered the Americas via the Bering Land Bridge, now the Bering Strait and along the coast. Genetic evidence found in Amerindians' maternally inherited mitochondrial DNA supports the theory of multiple genetic populations migrating from Asia. Over the course of millennia, Paleo-Indians spread throughout South America; when the first group of people migrated into the Americas is the subject of much debate.
One of the earliest identifiable cultures was the Clovis culture, with sites dating from some 13,000 years ago. However, older sites dating back to 20,000 years ago have been claimed; some genetic studies estimate the colonization of the Americas dates from between 40,000 and 13,000 years ago. The chronology of migration models is divided into two general approaches; the first is the short chronology theory with the first movement beyond Alaska into the Americas occurring no earlier than 14,000–17,000 years ago, followed by successive waves of immigrants. The second belief is the long chronology theory, which proposes that the first group of people entered the hemisphere at a much earlier date 50,000–40,000 years ago or earlier. Artifacts have been found in both North and South America which have been dated to 14,000 years ago, accordingly humans have been proposed to have reached Cape Horn at the southern tip of South America by this time. In that case, the Eskimo peoples would have arrived separately and at a much date no more than 2,000 years ago, moving across the ice from Siberia into Alaska.
The North American climate was unstable. It stabilized by about 10,000 years ago. Within this time frame pertaining to the Archaic Period, numerous archaeological cultures have been identified; the unstable climate led to widespread migration, with early Paleo-Indians soon spreading throughout the Americas, diversifying into many hundreds of culturally distinct tribes. The Paleo-Indians were hunter-gatherers characterized by small, mobile bands consisting of 20 to 50 members of an extended family; these groups moved from place to place as preferred resources were depleted and new supplies were sought. During much of the Paleo-Indian period, bands are thought to have subsisted through hunting now-extinct giant land animals such as mastodon and ancient bison. Paleo-Indian groups carried a variety of tools; these included distinctive projectile points and knives, as well as less distinctive implements used for butchering and hide processing. The vastness of the North American continent, the variety of its climates, vegetation and landforms, led ancient peoples to coalesce into many distinct linguistic and cultural groups.
This is reflected in the oral histories of the indigenous peoples, described by a wide range of traditional creation stories which say that a given people have been living in a certain territory since the creation of the world. Over the course of thousands of years, paleo-Indian
Indigenous peoples of the Americas
The indigenous peoples of the Americas are the Pre-Columbian peoples of North and South America and their descendants. Although some indigenous peoples of the Americas were traditionally hunter-gatherers—and many in the Amazon basin, still are—many groups practiced aquaculture and agriculture; the impact of their agricultural endowment to the world is a testament to their time and work in reshaping and cultivating the flora indigenous to the Americas. Although some societies depended on agriculture, others practiced a mix of farming and gathering. In some regions the indigenous peoples created monumental architecture, large-scale organized cities, city-states, states and empires. Among these are the Aztec and Maya states that until the 16th century were among the most politically and advanced nations in the world, they had a vast knowledge of engineering, mathematics, writing, medicine and irrigation, mining and goldsmithing. Many parts of the Americas are still populated by indigenous peoples.
At least a thousand different indigenous languages are spoken in the Americas. Some, such as the Quechuan languages, Guaraní, Mayan languages and Nahuatl, count their speakers in millions. Many maintain aspects of indigenous cultural practices to varying degrees, including religion, social organization and subsistence practices. Like most cultures, over time, cultures specific to many indigenous peoples have evolved to incorporate traditional aspects but cater to modern needs; some indigenous peoples still live in relative isolation from Western culture and a few are still counted as uncontacted peoples. Indigenous peoples of the United States are known as Native Americans or American Indians and Alaska Natives. Application of the term "Indian" originated with Christopher Columbus, who, in his search for India, thought that he had arrived in the East Indies; those islands came to be known as the "West Indies", a name still used. This led to the blanket term "Indies" and "Indians" for the indigenous inhabitants, which implied some kind of racial or cultural unity among the indigenous peoples of the Americas.
This unifying concept, codified in law and politics, was not accepted by the myriad groups of indigenous peoples themselves, but has since been embraced or tolerated, by many over the last two centuries. Though the term "Indian" does not include the culturally and linguistically distinct indigenous peoples of the Arctic regions of the Americas—such as the Aleuts, Inuit or Yupik peoples, who entered the continent as a second more recent wave of migration several thousand years before and have much more recent genetic and cultural commonalities with the aboriginal peoples of the Asiatic Arctic Russian Far East—these groups are nonetheless considered "indigenous peoples of the Americas". Indigenous peoples are known in Canada as Aboriginal peoples, which includes not only First Nations and Arctic Inuit, but the minority population of First Nations-European mixed race Métis people who identify culturally and ethnically with indigenous peoplehood; this is contrasted, for instance, to the American Indian-European mixed race mestizos of Hispanic America who, with their larger population, identify as a new ethnic group distinct from both Europeans and Indigenous Americans, but still considering themselves a subset of the European-derived Hispanic or Brazilian peoplehood in culture and ethnicity.
The term Amerindian and its cognates find preferred use in scientific contexts and in Quebec, the Guianas and the English-speaking Caribbean. Indígenas or pueblos indígenas is a common term in Spanish-speaking countries and pueblos nativos or nativos may be heard, while aborigen is used in Argentina and pueblos originarios is common in Chile. In Brazil, indígenas or povos indígenas are common if formal-sounding designations, while índio is still the more often-heard term and aborígene and nativo being used in Amerindian-specific contexts; the Spanish and Portuguese equivalents to Indian could be used to mean any hunter-gatherer or full-blooded Indigenous person to continents other than Europe or Africa—for example, indios filipinos. The specifics of Paleo-Indian migration to and throughout the Americas, including the exact dates and routes traveled, are the subject of ongoing research and discussion. According to archaeological and genetic evidence and South America were the last continents in the world to gain human habitation.
During the Wisconsin glaciation, 50–17,000 years ago, falling sea levels allowed people to move across the land bridge of Beringia that joined Siberia to northwest North America. Alaska was a glacial refugium; the Laurentide Ice Sheet covered most of North America, blocking nomadic inhabitants and confining them to Alaska for thousands of years. Indigenous genetic studies suggest that the first inhabitants of the Americas share a single ancestral population, one that developed in isolation, conjectured to be Beringia; the isolat