Cocaine and Atlantis is an idea that developed after the discovery of traces of nicotine in an Egyptian mummy in 1976 by Dr. Michelle Lescott from the Museum of Natural History in Paris and later confirmed by Dr. Svetlana Balabanova, a forensic toxicologist at the Institute of Forensic Medicine at Ulm in Germany, who also found traces of cannabis, tobacco and cocaine. She discovered traces of nicotine and cocaine in a number of other mummies(a).
“The deeply, disturbingly strange part of all this, is that neither the coca plant (from which cocaine is derived), nor the tobacco plant (which produces nicotine) are native to Egypt. Nor are they native to Africa in general. Or Europe. Or Asia, even. Those two plants are indigenous only to South America.”
Tobacco first came to Europe from South America during the time of Columbus, 2700 years later, apparently ruling out the possibility of tobacco being present during the reign of Ramses circa 1213 BC – or does it?
The nicotine discovery may have its significance weakened by the conclusions of an article published in the April/May 1949 edition of Egerton Sykes’ Atlantis Research magazine entitled Did Tobacco Originate In Africa?, by M. Brenda Francklyn. In it the author quotes from an earlier book, The Ivory Coast, which recounts a myth from West Africa that suggests that the tobacco plant originated there and was in fact exported from there to the Americas!
It did not take long for supporters of Balbanova’s conclusions to propose that specific drugs found in the mummies were evidence of ancient transatlantic travel, while others linked this with the theory of a South American Atlantis.>A 2023 article by Richard Milner is typical of the thinking behind this idea(d).<
Another site offers an interesting overview of the cocaine mummies debate(c).
However, the story does not end there because Carl Feagans has offered a rational argument in support of a more sceptical view of the transatlantic claim concluding that “in order accept that ancient Egyptians between 1000 BCE and 1100 CE traveled back and forth to South America, bringing back tobacco and coca leaves we must assume:
1) The Egyptians had sea-worthy boats
2) They didn’t find the journey significant enough to write about
3) There were no sources of THC, nicotine, or cocaine available from Africa, the Near East, or Asia.
There are some other assumptions as well, but these would seem to be the most significant.” (b)
>The Hall of Maat website offers an extensive article on this whole subject that included two comments in its conclusions that may be considered relevant(e).
(1) “The discovery of cocaine in Egyptian mummies is however not so easy to account for as no direct evidence unequivocally supports any particular contention.”
(2) “Cocaine containing plants, such as E. monogynum, which is present in India, could have been acquired by the ancient Egyptians or in neighbouring areas which the Egyptians traded with.”<
The Altiplano of BoliviaBolivia has most of its western half situated in the central Andes which includes the Altiplano (High Plateau). Jim Allen, a Scot, has promoted this region(a) as the true home of Plato’s Atlantis. Allen claims that ‘Andes’ is a corruption of Antis, a local word that means copper and that the same language uses Atl to denote water. He has identified a site known as Pampa Aullagas as the most likely location of Atlantis. The radical nature of this idea has ensured it widespread attention and sometimes scathing criticism.
Although I cannot subscribe to Jim Allen’s Bolivian location for Atlantis, there is little doubt that Bolivia has yet to reveal all its secrets. For example, there are the little known Sajama lines in western Bolivia near the border with Chile and Peru. These straight Sajama Lines ”average between one and three meters wide, and run from a few meters to several kilometers. The longest of them are about twenty kilometers in length.”(m) Unlike the Nazca lines those at Sajama do not represent any creatures.
Very little research has been carried out on these lines, but I note that Evan Hadingham touched on the subject in Lines to the Mountain Gods noting that Tony Morrison, who had previously filmed the lines at Nazca, stumbled on those at Sajama, and was told by locals that the lines joined sacred shrines. This was similar to what was told to the noted French anthropologist, Alfred Métraux in the 1930’s.
Returning to the subject of Atlantis, I continue to ask both why or how a mountainous kingdom on the west of South America would attack Athens on the eastern extremity of the Mediterranean is not clear! Allen’s theory concentrates on comparing the topography on the Altiplano with Plato’s description. He compared the physical features described by Plato with the site on the Altiplano and found that there was a very close match except that all the dimensions were out by a factor of two. This he explains by pointing out that unlike the Greeks, the pre-Columbian South Americans used a base 20 for counting. Allen also points to a naturally occurring alloy of copper and gold that is to be found in the Andes as the origin of the Orichalcum mentioned by Plato.
In an effort to strengthen his theory Allen suggests that the bull sacrifice on Atlantis, recorded by Plato, was in fact a reference to llama sacrifices(b)practiced in the Andes for thousands of years right up to the present! He argues that since the Egyptians would have had no word for llama they substituted ‘bull’ for it instead. Although llamas are camelids, I would have thought that they were closer in appearance to goats than bulls. Goat sacrifice is commonplace in the Southern Mediterranean and across much of Asia and has been for millennia. I consider Allen’s suggestion overly speculative and highly improbable.
Atlantisrevealed.com is a website(d), in English and Italian, which supports Jim Allens’s theory of Atlantis on the Altiplano of Bolivia. Unfortunately, it adds little new to the debate. Contrasting that is a lengthy and balanced critique of Allen’s ideas on Timothy Stephany’s website(e). He concludes that there is currently insufficient evidence to justify Allen’s claims.
Advocates of a South American Atlantis have pointed to the discovery of cocaine traces, derived exclusively from the South American coca plant, found in Egyptian mummies as evidence of ancient trans-Atlantic links and a possible channel for the spread of story of the destruction of Atlantis.
David Antelo, a Bolivian engineer, has also proposed a plain, in the Beni region just north of Allen’s site, as the location of Atlantis. In January 2011, Allen’s website included an extensive selection of aerial photos(c) of topographical features in Beni which suggest the pre-existence of an advanced civilisation in the region.
The oldest settlements so far found in Bolivia’s Amazon region are dated at 10,400 years old(f). A recent report(g) has shown numerous large circular earthworks throughout the Bolivian and Brazilian Amazon region. It also reported that the same territory, until recently forest, was savannah as recently as 2,000 or 3,000 thousand years ago.
Near the end of the 19th century, Emeterio Villamil de Rada (1804-1880) created quite a stir when he was the first to suggest that the Garden of Eden had been situated in the Andes and for good measure that the Aymara language was the language of Adam. Comparable ideas were expressed by Ramiro Gonzales Yaksic (1966- ) is the Bolivian author of Earthly Paradise: The Garden of the Andes in which he claims to have identified the biblical Garden of Eden in his native Bolivia(h). Dieter Groban has written in support of Yaksic(n).
In 2003 Jay Weidner & Vincent Bridges published a book supporting an Andean location for Atlantis in neighbouring Peru. Weidner & Bridges subsequently fell out(i) and Bridges has been accused of organising a scam by Laura Knight-Jadczyk(j).
(e) See: Archive 2237
(h) See: Archive 2331
Atlantis in America: Navigators of the Ancient World  by Ivar Zapp & George Erikson, was initially inspired by Professor Zapp’s interest in the stone spheres of Costa Rica, which he first encountered in 1979. Local myth hinted at a connection with the stars but Zapp’s perusal of this idea led nowhere. Unfortunately, many of these remarkable spheres have been moved from their original locations. However, Zapp discovered that the sightlines of all the stones remaining in their original positions, did point to important ancient sites such as Giza, Stonehenge and Easter Island. It would be prudent to treat Zapp’s claims with caution as his claim regarding the ‘perfect’ sphericity of the balls has been shown to be untrue(b)(c).
My question is, how could a sphere ‘point’ anywhere?
A simpler explanation is that the spheres were symbols of power and status(e) .
The authors examine the links between MesoAmerica and the Mediterranean as well as with Polynesia. They perceive America as having been pivotal to the cultural empire of Atlantis. The general idea there was ancient links between the Old and New worlds in ancient times is perfectly tenable. However, to suggest that Plato was referring to an Atlantis centred in Mesoamerica is more difficult to accept. Zapp & Erikson have proposed that an asteroidal impact in the Caribbean in 10513 BC generated enormous tidal waves that caused widespread devastation in Central America where they have located Atlantis. Plato tells us that Atlantis ruled,“Europe as far as Tyrrhenia and North Africa as far as Egypt”, before mounting an invasion in the east against the Athenians. The only physical evidence of ancient American influence anywhere in the Mediterranean, are traces of cocaine and tobacco in ancient Egypt. This widely reported discovery may have its significance weakened by the conclusions of article published in the April/May 1949 edition of Egerton Sykes’ Atlantis Research magazine entitled Did Tobacco Originate In Africa?, by M. Brenda Francklyn. In it the author quotes from an earlier book, The Ivory Coast, which recounts a myth from West Africa that suggests that the tobacco plant originated there and was in fact exported to the Americas.
However, in the western Mediterranean, in an area apparently controlled by Atlantis, no tangible evidence of any ancient American importation has been found. Furthermore, there is nothing in the detailed description of Atlantis given by Plato that can be identified as exclusively American in origin. In the opinion of this reviewer, the case for any American connection with Atlantis is still very much an open question. Although this book presents a lot of interesting and thought-provoking ideas it must be read without the abandonment of the readers’ critical faculties.
Zapp & Erikson published their book in 1998, while a few years later Doug Yurchey wrote a paper(d) on the spheres without a single reference to the highly publicised Atlantis in America. However, he does offer an even more outlandish theory regarding the purpose of the spheres with the following gem: “What if the CRBs were ancient power receivers? This writer has established, in previous articles, the possible existence of a prehistoric/worldwide Tesla system used by the descendants of the Atlanteans. The ancient monoliths, pyramids, stone circles and grand statues were not just art or architecture. They were the Utility Poles of the Gods. Wireless, power distribution is the key to understanding the pyramid civilizations. All we need is a stone, (crystalline) ground contact to tune in the power. Functioning like tuning forks, the stones vibrate or relay the EM world frequency. The Costa Rican Balls are all we need, in a cityless region, to expand the World Wireless; so that communications remain intact; so that ancient aircraft remain powered, etc.”
In 2006, a National Geographic documentary entitled “Atlantis: Is it Real?” gave further exposure to the theories of Erikson & Zapp.
>The truth behind the spheres would appear to be much more mundane according to conventional researchers. An article by Markus Milligan offers some very interesting facts regarding the creators of the spheres, who seem to have been the now extinct Disquis people.Their activities apparently lasted from around 1500 BC until 1500 AD. When the Spanish arrived in the 17th century they did not record any communities living there! After that, little was heard of the spheres until the 1930s when they were rediscovered as the United Fruit Company was clearing ground to develop banana plantations(f).<