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Chiefdom Societies


Since the year 800 a.C., 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.


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SINCE 2014

Towards 800 A.D. there was a chiefdom exercising its center of influence over the delta’s plain; the flat and fertile lands favored the leadership of the lowland’s villages, among which is Finca 6.
This village was part of an ample community, having different sectors of occupation, perhaps owing to the existence of an extended community, of various related communities, or well, a population which had to relocate in different areas, displaced by constant floods or other social and political factors. 

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Sitio Batambal
Batambal’s location is privileged, on top of a hill at the foot of Fila Retinto, facing the Térraba River, with an ample view of the ocean, the delta’s plains and surrounding mountains; perhaps that was the reason to create the settlement towards the year 300 A.D.
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The archaeological site covers some 20 hectares, over a terrace of the Térraba River and on the foothills of the Coastal Range. Deposits of pottery and stones have been found there buried by the river’s sediments, possible campfires and architectural structures created since 300 B.C. until 1500 A.D.   
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Grijalba-2 was found in a terrace on the Balsar River, tributary of Térraba River. The site measures around 10 hectares and presents a group of architectural structures: artificial mounds (bases for dwellings) with limestone walls and round-edged boulders (river stones), terraces with retaining walls and pavements.    
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Pre-Columbian chiefdom settlements with stone spheres in Diquís are the first set of cultural sites declared World Heritage Site in Costa Rica. The four archaeological sites have outstanding universal value, given its integrity, authenticity and good condition.


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The Finca 4 site is part of the settlements developed on the alluvial plains of the Sierpe and Térraba rivers. It constitutes the largest, most complex site of the delta, reaching almost 180 hectares. The place features circular and rectangular mounds and walls of boulders, cemetery areas, gold objects and monumental statuary. 
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This settlement is located to the West of the alluvial plain, near the mangrove and the Térraba River; presents an occupation of around 3 hectares with deposits of ceramic and lithic materials associated to the period 800 – 1550 A.D. A rectangular structure was reported here seemingly associated to a stone sphere. 
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The island is located in the Pacific Ocean, 26 Kilometers west of the Sierpe River’s mouth and its area is approximately 320 hectares. It was occupied since 1000 B.C., by communities who settled and practiced subsistence agriculture, profiting from marine resources. 
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It is found in the high part of Fila Grisera, from where there is an excellent view to the delta’s alluvial plain. Its extension is almost 10 hectares and has a group of artificial mounds with walls of boulders, pavements and cemeteries
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Objects of Power

The representations of power developed singular shapes in the Diquis delta. Designs depicted in stone, gold, pottery and other materials reflect the way how these cultures regarded their rulers. Authorities reinforced their power and the subordination of the other strata of the population by erecting monuments for the use and admiration of the population and by using diverse symbolic objects. They expressed the dominant thought and the community’s identity in such objects, which allowed rulers to retain their hierarchical position.  

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Biodiversity of the Archeological Sites






The plants and animals seen today in the area of Finca 6 Site Museum 6 are the product of natural regeneration taking place for over 10 years. Some sectors of the site are devoid of vegetation because of the archaeological research realized; notwithstanding, an important percentage of the area hasn’t been intervened and has constituted an early stages secondary forest, with the presence of species typical of areas of secondary growth and animals characteristic of this type of forest.

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