ImageArchaeologists from Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama have uncovered a cache of unusual stones in a prehistoric Rock shelter known as Casa de Piedra.

The twelve stones were found buried and clustered tightly together in a way that suggests they were stored in a bundle or basked which has decomposed since.

The cache consists of a small Dacite stone fashioned into a cylindrical tool; a small flake of white, translucent Quartz; a bladed Quartz and Jarosite aggregate; a Quartz crystal aggregate; several Pyrite nodules that showed evidence of use; a small, worn and abraded piece of Chalcedony; a magnetic Andesite flake; a large Chalcedony vein stone; and a small magnetic Kaolinite stone naturally eroded into an unusual shape, similar to a flower. This unusual selection and careful storage strongly suggests that these stones were once used by a Shaman or healer.

Indigenous groups who lived in the area during the time the stones were stored there include  Ngäbe, Buglé, Bribri, Cabécar and the now-extinct Dorasque peoples. Healers and Shamans of these and other cultures are known to feature unusual or special stones and crystals in their rituals.

The rock shelter itself has been known to archaeologists since the 1970s, who established that it was used for cooking and stone tool manufacture, possibly as early as 9,000 years ago and that it had been used by humans for thousands of years since then. The newest research shows that the people who would have benefitted from the shaman’s knowledge  practiced small-scale farming of manioc, maize and arrowroot, and collected palm nuts, fruits and roots. They also probably hunted and fished in the nearby hills and streams, but the humid soils in the shelter destroyed any evidence of animal bones.

From: Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute. Photos from STRIImage


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