Various indigenous artifacts, such as pots, containers, ceramics and grinders suggest a small population of Clovis Native Americans once farmed in villages in the Monteverde area, around 3000 BC. Around 3300 BC to 2000 BC, the nearby tribes of the Arenal area experienced a population decline. These nearby tribes re-established villages between 2000 BC to 500 BC. Agriculture intensified in the 500 BC to AD 300 period, and chiefdom societies replaced small tribal societies. Intense deforestation accompanied horticulture, and stone foundations dating to this period can be found. Jade objects became prominent characteristics of these villages. From AD 300 to 800, complex chiefdoms supplanted simpler chiefdoms and more intricate villages appear, with cemeteries, public squares, gold-work and inter-tribal trade and conflict. Around 1300, a general decline in population occurred, possibly due to Arenal Volcano‘s increased activity.:408-409
When the Spanish arrived in 1502, Costa Rica endured two generations of warfare. Nationwide indigenous populations fell from approximately 400,000 to 80,000 within little more than 50 years. However, unlike Costa Rica’s neighbors, Nicaragua and Panama, Costa Rica did not seem to harbor too much gold for the Spanish (even though gold mining in Costa Rica is a full-time occupation for some), and so the country was less ravished by colonization than other Latin American countries.