Panama Discovery

A dozen stones were recently discovered in the archaeological mound of Casita de Piedra, at the Isthmus of Panama. It marks the earliest evidence of practicing shamanism in Central America. The question is, why were stones brought in bags around 4,000 years ago?

According to some Panamanian historians, these were used in the practice or shamans, or healers. Indeed, Geologist Stewart Redwood maintains that they were taken from Panama’s gold mining area (known as the Cordillera Central). While there was no sign of gold found on them, these Casita de Piedra stones did have magnetite – a black mineral boasting strong magnetic properties that can deflect a compass needle.

Casita de Piedra was the place where many Native American peoples lived: Ngäbe, Buglé, Bribri, Cabécar and the extinct tribe of Dorasque. These stones – as well as being used by healers – also formed part of legends of contemporary Indians.