The collection, which included translucent quartz, pyrite, magnetic rocks and bladed tools, was likely used in shamanic rituals because of how closely together they were packed, Dickau told LiveScience. Some of the rocks contained grains of iron called magnetite, and showed magnetic properties by deflecting a compass needle. In addition, the stone types themselves don’t come from the rock shelter, but were historically used in shamanic rituals throughout the region.
The stones came from a distant, gold-rich region of Panama called the Central Cordillera up to 3,000 years before mining of the precious metal began, said study co-author and consulting geologist Stewart Redwood in a statement.
Story: Tia Ghose, LiveScience | Photo: Ruth Dickau