The Archaeological Collection

The Museums of the Central Bank’s  archaeological collection is one of the most relevant in Costa Rica. Its acquisitions began in 1950 and spanned until 1980, and include to date 3,567 gold, ceramic and stone objects. It also has a small collection of ethnographic objects from the different groups that have inhabited Costa Rican territory.

The pre-Columbian gold collection is made up of 1,586 objects. Archaeological evidence in Costa Rica points to the appearance of its first metal objects sometime in 300 to 500 AD, and reached its peak from 700 AD until Spanish contact. Most of the metal objects recovered in Costa Rica come from the South Pacific, due to the natural gold and copper deposits in the region, but were also found in the Central Caribbean.

The ceramic and stone collection is made up of objects from many geographical regions in Costa Rica, and span from 300 BC until European contact in 1550. Artifacts of various shapes, as well as stone objects, statues, and cutlery, were used in everyday life and in ceremonies by the people who crafted them.

The ethnographic collection also has 103 objects that evidence everyday life practices and world view of contemporary indigenous communities, including textiles, naturally dyed thread, reeds, bows and arrows, gourds, baskets, maracas, and spindles.

The Pre-Columbian Gold Museum

The gold object collection of the Pre-Columbian Gold Museum reflects the world view, social structure, and metalsmithing skills of the pre-Columbian civilizations that inhabited the territory now known as Costa Rica from 500 BC to 1500 AD. The exhibition highlights the technology, use and purpose of the objects displayed, these communities’ relation to nature and their daily life practices.

The introductory area, located on the second floor of the building, allows the participant to understand the socio-cultural evolution of pre-Columbian cultures and the evolution, stages and styles of metalsmithing in Costa Rica. The main gallery delves upon object use, metalsmithing techniques of these communities, their relation to nature and their daily life practices.