President makes a pitch for those stone spheres at U.N. agency

President Laura Chinchilla lobbied at the U.N. cultural organization Wednesday in an effort to advance a decision on the country’s pre-Columbian stone spheres.

The U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is preparing to designate  the spheres as world heritage artifacts.

Costa Rica is developing an archaeological park in the area of the spheres, the Diquis Delta region in the southwestern part of the country.

The president noted that an international team from the U.N. organization visited the site. That was in March 2010. She met in Paris with Irina Bokova, the director general of the agency and explained that the designation is vital for Costa Rica.

In January, the president noted, the country received notice that the file on the spheres would be studied and evaluated. The country is awaiting a final decision by the agency.

OffIcials here also were supposed to prepare a report on the plans for the archaeological site and how the spheres would be safeguarded from vandals. That was sought last year.

Expats and others in the area of the spheres are expecting a big boost in tourism when the U.N. makes its declaration.

As part of the visit, the president awarded Ms. Bokova with a Costa Rican decoration, the Orden Juan Mora Fernández, Gran Cruz Placa de Plata, according to the foreign ministry here.

The ministry also noted that a leading museum in Paris will open an exposition that includes the spheres this year.

Scientists believe the round stones were first created about 600 A.D., with most dating to after 1,000 A.D. but before the Spanish conquest. There are about 300 of them and some are household ornaments in the Central valley.

Recent studies suggest the spheres were household ornaments in the pre-Columbian communities where they were made. The speculation is that the spheres were signs of power placed outside the home of various leaders.

The Museo Nacional is trying to repatriate some spheres to the original locale.

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