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Costa Rica’s stone spheres close to making World Heritage list

May 1, 2014

The International Council of Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) issued a report recommending the inclusion of Costa Rica’s pre-Columbian spheres of Diquís on the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage List, President Laura Chinchilla said on Tuesday.

The technical recommendation boosts the spheres’ chance of making the list when finalists are announced during the next session of UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee meeting from June 15-25 in Doha, Qatar.

“UNESCO’s decisions have never differed from ICOMOS recommendations. It is a good sign that brings us closer to the goal,” Chinchilla said.

Costa Rica in 2012 submitted the nomination of the stone spheres handcrafted by the Boruca indigenous people between 400-1500 B.C. Experts believe that the spheres had astronomical, social and artistic purposes.

Some 200 spheres ranging in size from 7 centimeters to 2.5 meters in diameter and between a few kilograms to over 15 tons have been found at 45 archaeological sites in Costa Rica’s Southern Pacific.

The spheres were placed in open areas, in front of principal residences or in special locations. Because of their number, sizes, finishes and contexts, the spheres are considered unique.

Culture Minister Manuel Obregón said that UNESCO’s approval would help Costa Rica’s nominations planned for Liberia’s Old Town in the province of Guanacaste and the Caribbean Cultural Corridor in Limón.

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