The Etruscans were an ancient people of Etruria (now Tuscany) in Italy. They occupied an area somewhere between Rome and Florence from the 8th century BC until incorporated in the Roman Empire in the 2nd century BC. They do not appear to have been particularly expansionist as the only Etruscan settlement on Sardinia, which was not discovered until our 21st century, on the Tavolara isle off the coast near Olbia(o).
It is thought that they originally came from Asia Minor before 800 BC, a suggestion that originated with Herodotus. This view has been given recent (2007) support by the results of DNA studies carried out at Pavia University. Another study of Etruscan mtDNA estimated “that the genetic links between Tuscany and Anatolia date back to at least 5,000 years ago, strongly suggesting that the Etruscan culture developed locally, and not as an immediate consequence of immigration from the Eastern Mediterranean shores.” (e).
Stefan Anitei supports an Anatolian, or more specifically a Lydian, origin for the Etruscans, citing a “ A recent DNA analysis showed that (the Bos Taurus) cattle in central Italy seem indeed to have originated in modern Turkey and Middle East. As there is no link between these cattle and others from other European regions, they must have entered the peninsula by sea.” (n).
Some decades ago Professor Licinio Glori also supported an eastern Mediterranean origin for the Etruscans(i). However, he has also claimed a common origin for the peoples of the Americas and Europe, including Etruscans, without identifying this shared ancestry(j).
It has also been suggested that the Etruscan culture has shown distinctive Indian influences.(l)
Until their written language can be translated there will remain an air of mystery about them. Even then because of the paucity of material available in their language, it is probable that little will be gleaned from it. Mark Cartwright’s excellent site has further information on the Etruscan script(k) and many articles on different aspects of Etruscan culture. A 2016 report(h) revealed the discovery of a stele which has at least 70 legible Etruscan letters and punctuation marks on it. Hopefully, this find will help to advance the translation of this language.
The site of the ancient city of Chiusi has been assumed by some to be the location of Clusium, the capital of the Etruscan king, Lars Porsena. This suggestion is based on the fact that the two names mean the same, namely ‘closed’. However, Giuseppe Centauro believes that he has found the real Clusium near Florence where he identified two concentric walls about 10 miles in circumference. The extensive walls have resonances with Plato’s description of Atlantis. If he is correct Clusium may at one time been the biggest city in Italy(f). Centauro is currently seeking permission to excavate there.
At Orvieto nearly 100km north of Rome, Professor Simonetta Stopponi is investigating the possible location of the Fanum Voltumnae, where the leaders of the Etruscan city-states met every year to discuss policy. This meeting has also got echoes of the regular meeting of the kings of the Atlantean federation.
It is worth highlighting that Tyrrhenia, the Greek name for Etruria, is one of the few places whose location is not disputed and is mentioned by Plato as bordering (Critias 114c & Timaeus 25b) Atlantean territory. It is therefore reasonable to expect that south of Etruria on mainland Italy that some remnants of Atlantis may yet be identified.
In his recent book Richard W. Welch is quite happy to designate the Etruscans as “the last Atlanteans of which we have much knowledge”. Frank Joseph echoed the same idea, writing that “the Etruscans were themselves nothing more than the late Atlanteans who colonised western Italy, so their surviving material culture offers us a glimpse of Atlantis at is cultural height.”[636.21]
In 1962, the French linguist, Maurice Guignard, claimed to have deciphered the Etruscan language and also suggested that the Etruscans might have come from Atlantis. Such comments conflict with Plato’s account, which clearly locates the territory of the Atlanteans separate from and further south than that of the Etruscans.
The internet offers a valuable site(a) giving a good overview of the Etruscans including a valuable bibliography and collection of related weblinks.
The controversial Italian researcher, Dr. Mario Gattoni Celli, writing in the 1960’s proposed that the Etruscans had voyaged to South America, basing his opinion on linguistic and other cultural similarities. This view is apparently supported by Diodorus Siculus (History, Book V, 19+) who refers to the ‘Tyrrhenians’ setting up a colony on an island, with navigable rivers, at a great distance from the inhabited world(c). Adding some confusion to this is the claim that Old World languages had migrated FROM the Americas!!(d)
The most exotic suggestion regarding the Etruscans comes from Xavier Séguin who has claimed that they share a common ancestry with the Yoruba of West Africa, having both originated in Atlantis(m) ! Séguin quotes the work of Leo Frobenius in support of this contention, highlighting the significance of the number sixteen in both cultures.
(c) Atlantis, Vol 19.1, Feb/Mar 1966
(i) St. Petersburg Times. Nov. 25 1957
The Olmecs flourished around 1200 BC on the southern Gulf coast of Mexico and spread their influence in Central America from Belize to Costa Rica until around 300 BC when they just disappeared!
David Childress wrote an interesting article(c) on what little is known about the origin of the Olmecs in the 2007 Sept/Oct. issue of Atlantis Rising magazine. This was one of a number of promotional pieces(e) for his book The Mystery of the Olmecs published earlier that year. In early 2014, Frank Johnson published a lengthy paper(f) debunking Childress’ Olmec book, with fyrther criticism from Jason Colavito following shortly afterwards(g).
Jacques de Mahieu, the French Nazi, claimed that the Olmecs were descended from refugees that fled from Troy after the Trojan War. He goes further claiming that the Trojans had originally come from Scandinavia!
The Olmecs have been linked by a variety of writers with Atlantis. The first Latin writer of Aztec history was Fernando de Alva Cortes Ixitilxochill, of Aztec lineage, who maintained that the Olmecs had come to Eastern Mexico from the Antilles via Florida.
At the end of the 17th century a former Jesuit, Don Carlos de Sigüenza y Gongora who had befriended the son of Ixitilxochill was allegedly in possession of a remarkable collection of native manuscripts that had escaped the insane mass burnings of the 15th century. He believed that the earliest inhabitants of Mexico had come from Atlantis. The Olmecs who preceded the Toltecs were not identified until the 19th century.
The 1973 discovery of a grooved 3.5 cm hematite bar by Michael D. Coe at the San Lorenzo site led researchers to immediate conjectural comment. In 1979, Robert Temple wrote two articles(o)(p), in the Second Look magazine, on this find and the possibility of Olmec knowledge of magnetism. However, wild speculation led to the conclusion from this single artefact that the Olmecs had invented the compass. This assumption led to the further suggestion(j)(k) that the Olmecs had advanced navigational skills and with a final leap of imagination decided therefore that they had arrived in America from their homeland, Atlantis!
Ivar Zapp & George Erikson use the stone spheres of Costa Rica as the starting point for their controversial book on Atlantis, insisting on a connection between the stones and the Olmecs. Gene Matlock considers the Olmecs to be possible survivors from Atlantis and Clyde Winters holds similar views and has supported them with his bookon the subject. In the same book[p.13] he offers Libya as the home of Atlantis, while elsewhere Matlock suggested(d) that the Olmecs were Turkish!
However, afrocentrist, Paul Barton, claims(m) that the Olmecs came from the Mende people of West Africa who are now one of the principal ethnic groups of Sierra Leone.
The Negroid features that are clearly to be seen on some of the Olmec carvings are probably evidence of an ancient link with Africa and nothing more. On balance, I do not think that any credible case for identifying the Olmecs with Atlantis has yet been made. However, in my opinion, a far more convincing case has been made for linking the Chinese with the Olmecs(a)(b) and in that regard the book by Dr. H. Mike Xu, Origin of the Olmec Civilisation, is worth a read. In a similar manner Charlotte Harris Rees has compiled a vast collection of data linking the Chinese with America in her Secret Maps of the Ancient World. She devotes chapter 4 to the Olmecs. Jacques Gossart, has also reviewed(l) the evidence for the Chinese ancestry of the Olmecs. R.A. Jairazbhoy proposed in his book Ancient Egyptians and Chinese in America that as well as Chinese, there are also Semitic, Egyptian and African traces to be found among the Olmecs.
Many Mormons believe that the Olmecs were the Jaredites who are only referred to in their Book of Ether. This idea has been developed in a short Kindle book by John Dreha.
In 2006 it was announced(a) that a stone slab was discovered in the Mexican state of Vera Cruz, which appears to be the earliest known writing in the Americas and attributed to the Olmecs and dated to around 900 BC.
The most extreme theory regarding the Olmecs that I have found, is the claim that they were astronauts. This idea was expressed(h) by Xavier Séguin, quoting US astronaut Gordon Cooper! However, I discovered Séguin to be unreliable when I found that he also quoted a fictional character, Professor Mortimer, from a work by the renowned writer, Edgar P. Jacobs, as supposedly uttered by a real scientist(n), in relation to the Pillars of Heracles.
May 2017 brought an interesting article(q), on the Ancient Origins website, outling the unique features of the Olmecs.
(a) See Archive 2532
(e) http://www.transformtheillusion.com/articles/David%20Childress/The%20Mystery%20of%20the%20Origin%20of%20the%20Olmecs%20.html (offline Nov. 2016) see Archive 2294
(f) http://ancientaliensdebunked.com/mystery-solved-olmecs-and-transoceanic-contact/ (offline May 2018) See: Archive 2295
(j) http://polishgazette.com/?p=1806221 (offline Dec. 2015)
(l) http://www.orbs.fr/ Issue #5