Culture ministry expects U.N. action on spheres

Staffers at the Ministerio de Cultura y Juventud are hoping that the pre-Columbian stone spheres in southwest Costa Rica will be added to the heritage of mankind list in mid-June when the U.N. World Heritage Committee meets in Qatar.

Elizabeth Fonseca, the new minister, is visiting key archaeological sites today and tomorrow to learn more about the subject.

Today the minister is expected to be at Finca 6 in Osa where the new museum dedicated to the stone balls is located. Saturday she will be visiting the Batambal, Grijalba and El Silencio sites.

The balls were made between 300 and 1500 A.D., although no one really knows why. They were made locally because the stone material has been traced to the upper reaches of the Río Térraba, which flows nearby.

Francisco Corrales has said he thinks the balls were status devices placed outside the homes of important persons. He is an archaeologist deeply involved in the work of the Museo Nacional in Osa and also the director of the committee that submitted the spheres for recognition by the U.N. heritage committee

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