A pre-Columbian stone sphere weighing about 3,000 pounds has arrived safely in Pavas after a sea voyage from Florida. The sphere, authenticated as the work of the culture that lived in the Delta del Diquís more than 1,000 years ago, came from Coconut Grove, Florida. The Museo Nacional, which announced the return, said a resident there, identified as John F. Betancourt, voluntarily surrendered the sphere that he believed had been on his property since a previous owner brought it there in the 1940s.
The spheres are in the news now because the government expects the sites where they are found on the south Pacific coast soon will be added to the United Nations world heritage list.
Museum officials are in the process of trying to gain possession of spheres that are located in other part of the country. Many have been moved to the Central Valley to serve as ornaments around upscale homes. The museum reported that it has recovered five spheres, but the latest is the only one that has come from outside the county.
The sphere from Florida is about a meter in diameter and is reported to be in good condition except for some surface cracks. Its destination in Pavas is where the museum maintains a storage facility. Staffers at the Cost Rican consulate in Miami had to devise a special wood box to carry the sphere on its journey that began April 3. It arrived intact in Pavas via Limón April 29, the museum said.