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20 years

Pre-Colombian settlements in Costa Rica declared UNESCO World Heritage sites

(Courtesy of the National Museum.)

(Courtesy of the National Museum.)

June 23rd, 2014 ( The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) today added four pre-Colombian sites located in Osa, Puntarenas to its list of World Heritage sites.


The decision was made as part of the 38th session of the World Heritage Committee, taking place in Doha, Qatar.


Precolumbian Chiefdom Settlements with Stone Spheres of the Diquis includes four  archaeological sites located in the Diquis Delta in southern Costa Rica, which are considered unique examples of the complex social, economic and political systems of the  period between 500-1500  AD.  They contain artificial mounds, paved areas, burial sites and, most significantly, a collection of stone spheres, between 0.7m and 2.57m in diameter, whose meaning, use and production remains largely a mystery. The spheres are distinctive for their perfection, their number, size and density, and their placement in their original locations. Their preservation from the looting that befell the vast majority of archeological sites in Costa Rica has been attributed to the thick layers of sediment that kept them buried for centuries,” UNESCO said of the sites.


National Museum archaeologist and Costa Rica’s representative to UNESCO, Francisco Corrales, told the daily La Nacion that the World Heritage recognition gives added prestige to the sites, helps to raise awareness of the indigenous roots of Costa Ricans, and promotes sustainable tourism.



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