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Chiefdom Societies

Since the year 800 A.D., tribal communities with family ties came to constitute villages under a chiefdom organization over the extensive plains of the Diquis delta. This political system included a chief or chieftains, in whose territory there were several towns and communities with chiefs subordinated to his authority.

The leaders of the delta controlled a vast territory where they consolidated their economic and ideological power. Extensive farming and the availability of natural resources would have created favorable conditions to undertake important public infrastructure works, create monumental sculptures, and obtain symbolic, deluxe goods according to their social condition.

The power of these characters was backed up by an ideological system based on supernatural elements, on strength and social control. These ideas were transmitted through rituals and significant events of the personal and communal life, which reinforced the chief’s authority and defined the identity of the territory governed.

The presence of hundreds of spheres in different villages and the wide delta plain and its surroundings, shows communities shared both the object and its symbolism. It is likely the spheres were sent from the plains where the main chiefdom stood, to subordinated or allied communities to keep the territory under the ideological, economic, and military control. Or else each community would create their own spheres as a reference of shared identity related to prestige and power.


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