Mystery spheroid is donated to Canary museum after cave find
Relic hunters have been asked to “look around their homes” in case one of their finds turns out to be of national or international interest.
The appeal follows the donation by a private individual of a “spheroid” shaped stone to the Benahoarita Archaeological Museum in La Palma.
Airton Rodríguez found the object by chance about ten years ago in one of the caves of the ravine of Fernando Porto, in the Cave of Water, in the Villa de Garafía.
Minister of Culture and Historical Heritage of the Island Council of La Palma, Primitivo Jerónimo applauded the donation and stressed the importance of any other individuals donating their finds for conservation and study.
“These type of pre-Hispanic objects are goods of public interest that belong to us all and should not be part of private collections,” he says.
The archaeological piece is a spheroid of gray basalt that is about six centimetres high and a maximum thickness, in the central area, of 5.5 centimetres. It has an oval shape and its base has been lowered in such a way that it can stand up. On the contrary, the other end ends in a point. It is decorated by six wide grooves that run the entire surface from the base to the pointed end, forming broad bands.
According to the director of the Benahoarita Museum and the archaeologist of the Cabildo, Jorge Pais, the piece is very similar to another spheroid that was donated by Joaquín Toepcke from Hopya Grande, Villa de Garafía, which, after touring the world, was rescued in the mu-nicipality of Frontera, in El Hierro. At the moment this piece is one of the madayas (“beautiful thing that there is to see”) and it is shown in the permanent exhibition room of the Benahoarita Archae-ological Museum.
Jorge Pais points out that benahoarite spheroids are lithic pieces made of basalt and gabros. Its peculiarity is that they are decorated by deep grooves that form different motifs (meanders and spirals) or have been carved in a circular, ovoid, pear-shaped.
Regarding their meaning, many theories have been suggested ranging from a throwing weapon to a weight or idol.
“Its strange shapes, its precious finish, its accused polish and its scarcity lead us to think that it could be a kind of power symbols or amulets that confer prestige and protection to its owners. Its strange forms, as well as its decoration, makes it a unique piece in Canarian archeology” he says.