Ivar Zapp is a former professor of design at the architecture school of Universidad de Costa Rica and co-author, with George Erikson, of Atlantis in America that links Atlantis with the ancient cultures of Central America.
Zapp gave a talk in 2005 in which he identified a location in southwest Costa Rica as the site of Plato’s Atlantis(b). The Amazon customer reviews are worth a look(a).
In 2012 Zapp revealed that he was planning to publish a second book, Babel Deciphered, which will reveal that a maritime civilisation existed globally thousands of years before the Greeks, Egyptians and Sumerians and that this civilisation created the world’s first language(c). It appears that so far he has not found a publisher.
Regarding Atlantis, the same report noted that Zapp commenting on the fall of Atlantis, “said that (it) was not the literal collapse of a continent into the ocean, but the collapse of knowledge that plunged the world into a dark age where people forgot the language and navigation techniques pioneered by a civilization in the Americas.”
(b) See Archive 2537)
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 stones 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, 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 Phoenicians or Canaanites are linguistically regarded as Semitic people, who among their many achievements are credited with giving us our alphabet (without vowels). Both Strabo and Herodotus claim that they originally came from Bahrain(p), but this origin is denied by the phoenicia.org website(q). The correctness of these two ancient writers has been heavily criticised(r).
Nevertheless, Dhani Irwanto in a 2019 article(ab) on his website insists that the Phoenicians originated somewhere in the Indian Ocean. Irwanto suggests “that perhaps the most significant contribution of the Phoenicians was an alphabetic writing system that became the root of the Western alphabets.” However, Irwanto has gone further and proposed that the Phoenicians also influenced the development of at least three of the scripts of South Sumatera in Indonesia!
The widespread idea that Phoenician writing inspired the development of European alphabets, such as that of the Greeks, conflicts with the discovery of the Dispilo Tablet(ad) in Greece which has pushed back the use of writing in Greece to around 5200 BC, which is long before the people recognised as Phoenician emerged in the 2nd millennium BC(ac)!
A recent essay explicitly claims that there was never any such entity as ‘Phoenicia’! It also charts the manner in which ‘Phoenicians’ have been arbitrarily claimed as ancestors by distant nations, having been “enlisted in support of the nationalist histories of Lebanon, Britain, and Ireland, and in some cases seriously distorted by them. Despite claims by various partisans of Lebanese, British and Irish nationalism to enlist the Phoenicians as their ancient progenitor, the Phoenicians never existed as a self-conscious community, let alone a nascent nation.” (y)
The Phoenicians flourished during the 1st and 2nd millennia BC. The late Joseph Robert Jochmans has suggested(c) that similarities between Phoenician names and those of the sons of Poseidon are more than coincidental. The descendants of the Phoenicians are still to be found in great numbers in modern Lebanon as well as elements of the Phoenician language. Contrary to popular belief the Maltese language is more related to Phoenician than Arabic(g). Similarly, in a mountainous and isolated northeast corner of Asia Minor, its people still speak Greek in a dialect known as Romeyka(l). Dr Ioanna Sitaridou of Queen’s College, Cambridge explains that ‘Although Romeyka can hardly be described as anything but a Modern Greek dialect, it preserves an impressive number of grammatical traits that add an Ancient Greek flavor to the dialect’s structure – traits that have been completely lost from other Modern Greek varieties.’
A more radical view of the Phoenicians has been expressed by Professor Josephine Quinn(o) who declared “the Phoenicians never existed as a self-conscious community, let alone a nascent nation.” In a lengthy article, she suggests that “‘‘Phoenician’ was just a generic label invented by ancient Greek authors for the Levantine sailors they encountered in their own maritime explorations. Although some of these Greek writers entertain a mild stereotype of these Phoenicians as rather cunning or tricksy, they never use the term as a description of a distinct ethnocultural community.”
The Phoenicians have been frequently identified as the Atlanteans of Plato’s narrative. Peter Dawkins’ Zoence Academy website has the following logic-stretching gem – “Atlas also is known by other names, such as Enoch or The Phoenix, (hence Atlantis is Phoenicia, the land of the Phoenix)(v).
Keith Hunt noted on his website that “Prof. George Rawlinson (1812-1902), in his “Story of Phoenicia,” tells us that Phoenicia derived its name from the forests of date or Phoenix palms which grew there in great luxuriance. So far so good; but whence did the Phoenix palm derive its name? Horapollo says: “A palm branch was the symbol of the Phoenix.” Yes, but what or who was the Phoenix? Sanchomathon, the Phoenician writer, states that “Phoenix was the first Phoenician.” Phoenix, then, was a man. Now, the word Phoenix is the Greek form of the Egyptian term “Pa-Hanok,” the house of Enoch. In Hebrew Enoch also is Hanok. Thus the mystery of that ancient race is solved: they were the sons and descendants of Enoch and of Noah and his three sons, who after the Flood started their westward march. Their descendants have kept it up since, settled, first north of the Persian Gulf in the bushlands of Mesopotamia, where they found a dusky race in occupation of the land, the ancient Sumerians, and from thence towards the Mediterranean.” (w)
James Nienhuis has recently identified Canaanites as Atlanteans(m)! The supporters of a Bronze Age date for the invasion of the Atlanteans see in the Phoenicians the powerful far-flung maritime civilisation described by Plato. However, this identification is in conflict with Plato’s statement that Atlantis or its influence extended as far as Tyrrhenia and Libya, whereas the Phoenicians had their original base further east in the region of modern Lebanon and Israel. It also runs counter to Plato’s clear account of the Atlanteans attacking from their bases in the Central Mediterranean (Tim.25b & Crit.114c).
The Phoenicians were never unilaterally at war with Greece and/or Egypt, but their successors, the Carthaginians, whose main military campaigns were directed against the Roman Empire, did clash with the Greeks in Sicily.
It is accepted that the Phoenician commercial empire began with the three cities of Tyre, Sidon, and Byblos. They expanded with the establishment of trading settlements along the Mediterranean coast of North Africa usually separated by a day’s rowing – somewhere between 30 to 60 miles.
It is claimed that the Phoenicians together with the Egyptians had an influence on the development of the Minoan culture(e).
Jonas Bergman recently presented a paper to the 2005 Melos Atlantis Conference on the subject of a Phoenician association with the Atlantis story. He outlined how Plato’s description of Atlantis was similar to the western colonies of the Phoenicians.
“Roderic O’Flaherty (Ruaidrhí Ó Flaithbheartaigh) was the first Irish scholar to suggest in his influential work Ogygia (1685) that the Phoenicians formed part of Irish ancestry. In the 18th century, O’Flaherty’s theory of the Phoenicians as progenitors of the Irish became very popular among the Protestant Ascendancy as well as Gaelic intellectuals.”(y)
Joaquín Lorenz Villanueva (1757-1837) was a Spanish historian, who moved to Dublin in later life, where he wrote Ibernia Phœnicea , which was an attempt to prove that Ireland had been colonised by the Phoenicians. This was translated into English and published by Henry O’Brien in 1833 as Phoenician Ireland .
Phoenicians in America
Some German writers in the 19th century such as Robert Prutz and later Jakob Kruger have advocated the idea that Phoenicians had discovered America, where he also placed Atlantis. However, in spite of the fact that there is widespread support for this concept and the even more extreme claim of Phoenicians in Australia, a Lebanese website (now offline), in the original home of Phoenicia, discounted all such claims for lack of evidence. Nevertheless, attention-seeking Rex Gilroy persists in promoting the idea of Phoenicians in Australia(h).
A paper by Christian C. Karam, who believes that Atlantis had been located in the Atlantic has expanded on the idea of a Phoenician presence in Brazil three thousand years ago(n).
In 1886, the American novelist Ann Eliza Smith (1819-1905) published a fantasy novel(j), Atla, that tells the tale of the discovery of the Atlantis civilization by the Phoenicians.
In 1889, Enrique Onffroy de Thoron proposed that Atlantis had been Phoenician and situated in America. Indeed, claims still persist that the Phoenicians did reach South America(f). However, Onffroy was not the first to suggest this, as he was preceded by Robertus Comtaeus Nortmannus as early as 1644 and Georg Horn in 1652.
>Paul Gallez (1920-2007) was a Belgian-born cartographer, historian and linguist. Atlantisforschung noted that “On the occasion of the celebrations of the 500th anniversary of the alleged discovery of America by Christopher Columbus (the ‘Columbus Day’ of the year 1992), Gallez wrote and published in 1996 a whole series of articles about much earlier voyages of discovery, e.g. by Phoenicians, Egyptians, Chinese and Vikings in the journal La Nueva Provincia , in which he also considered proto-Semitic influences in pre-Columbian America“(ah).<
Arguably, the best-known exponent of the ‘Phoenicians in America’ school of thought was Bernardo Silva Ramos(i). >In the 1930s he studied inscriptions at Pedra de Gavea and concluded that they were Phoenician and offered a translation that read “Tyre, Phoenicia, Badezir, Firstborn of Jethbaal”. This supposedly refers to a ruler of Phoenicia named Baal-Eser I, who ruled Tyre in the mid-9th century, c. 850 BC. Jacques de Mahieu decided that the inscriptions were not Phoenician but, in keeping with his Nazi background, they were Nordic runes!(ae) Otto Muck also bought into the Phoenicians in Brazil idea and according he accepted the translation of Bernardo Silva Ramos(af).<
>Paul Gaffarel wrote a number of papers between 1875 and 1890 on pre-Columbian trans-Atlantic voyagers from Europe. He presented a 38-page paper on the Phoenicians’ voyages to America to the Congrès International des Américanistes in Nancy (France) in 1875. Other essays concerned the Vikings and ancient Irish(ag).<
Nevertheless, John Denison Baldwin, writing in the late 19th century, was highly critical of the Phoenicians being early colonisers in America and after reviewing the arguments in favour of the idea, he concluded that “if it were true that the civilization found in Mexico and Central America came from people of the Phoenician race, it would be true also that they built in America as they never built anywhere else, that they established a language here radically unlike their own, and that they used a style of writing totally different from that which they carried into every other region occupied by their colonies. All the forms of alphabetical writing used at present in Europe and Southwestern Asia came directly or indirectly from that anciently invented by the race to which the Phoenicians belonged, and they have traces of a common relationship that can easily be detected. Now the writing of the inscriptions at Palenque, Copan, and elsewhere in the ruins has no more relatedness to the Phoenician than to the Chinese writing. It has not a single characteristic that can be called Phoenician any more than the language of the inscriptions or the style of architecture with which it is associated; therefore we can not reasonably suppose this American civilization originated by people of the Phoenician race, whatever may be thought relative to the supposed ancient communication between the two continents and its probable influence on civilized communities already existing here.”(x)
Jason Colavito published articles written by Thomas Crawford Johnston in 1892(z). that he later developed into his 1913 book Did the Phoenicians Discover America [1902+] which is available online(aa).
In his 2009 book, Uncovering Archaeology, Dennis Cassinelli outlines in some detail his Atlantis theory, which he locates in Central America(s). He suggests that the Phoenicians landed in Central America and on seeing the Mayan cities concluded that they had landed in Atlantis. Not unexpectedly, Jason Colavito had a few words to say about this idea(t).
>Jean Mazel favourably discussed the idea of the Phoenicians in South America in his 1968 book Avec le Phéniciens.<
Hugh Fox (1932-2011) wrote of the early peoples of the Americas in his well-received Gods of the Cataclysm. The ‘cataclysm’ referred to is the biblical Deluge, in respect of which he follows the ideas of Velikovsky and the Christian catastrophist Donald W. Patten (1929-2014), who attributed Noah’s Flood to a close encounter with a massive extraterrestrial body around 2800 BC. Fox explicitly claims that before the Flood, transoceanic travel was commonplace, with the Chinese in America, Indian theology in the Mediterranean and that after the Flood we had the Phoenicians and Odysseus in America.
More recently, Andrew Collins has drawn attention to the extraction of purple dye from shellfish in a number of Central and South American countries [072.357], commenting that “quite clearly, the presence of purple dye processes in Costa Rica, Mexico and Ecuador, as well as in Peru, could well constitute positive proof of transoceanic contact with ancient seafarers from the eastern Mediterranean.” Collins also quotes Thomas Crawford Johnston’s Did the Phoenicians Discover America [1902+] – “There is probably no stronger evidence of the presence of the Phoenician in the New World than can be drawn from the use of dyes.” Collins also notes that similar sentiments were expressed by Wolfgang Born in a 1937 paper.
Collins has also noted [p361] how cotton was widely produced in the Americas before the Spanish conquest and that genetic studies have shown “that the variety of cotton cultivated in the New World from very earliest times is a hybrid form derived from an Old World species crossed with species native only to the American continent. Crawford Johnston also claimed that the compass had been invented by the Phoenicians!
Peter de Roo, writing in 1900 [890.1.195] stated “that the Phoenicians at some time landed on American soil could not well be denied in the presence of ancient reports; but as Gravier justly observes. if any vague account of their discoveries was kept, it reached us disfigured by Hellenic fanciful imagination.”
The late Sabatino Moscati, a renowned linguist and archaeologist, wrote a highly regarded work on the subject of the Phoenicians. Additionally, there is an invaluable website(a) on offer from Salim George Khalaf, a modern Phoenician from Lebanon. This huge site with its 2,000 pages covers all aspects of Phoenician culture. This same site(b), drawing on the work of Ignatius Donnelly, identifies the kings of Atlantis with the Phoenician pantheon and claims that the gods of the Greeks were also the deified Atlantean kings.
Jacques Hébert, who places Atlantis in the Indian Ocean on the island of Socotra, suggests that the Atlanteans had a colony in the Eastern Mediterranean whose inhabitants developed into the Phoenicians!
(g) See: Archive 2852
(i) https://pt.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bernardo_de_Azevedo_da_Silva_Ramos (Portuguese)
(ac) www.historydisclosure.com *
Murex is the name of a family of sea snails that led to the Phoenicians controlling the very lucrative trade in purple-dyed silk(b). Some have attributed the origin of the name ‘Phoenicia’ to a Greek word meaning ‘purple’.
The dye had been extracted from the Murex snails and the resulting cloth was considered highly desirable to such an extent that in later years the colour was reserved for members of the Roman imperial family. It took 10,000 snails to produce one gram of dye, making it extremely expensive. Unfortunately, the process involved putrefaction and the use of urine, contributing to an extremely melodious operation.
Demand for this exclusive dye persisted for nearly 3,000 years. Purple was also the preserve of cardinals in the Roman Catholic Church, equating them with kings, until the 15th century when red was decreed for them, a situation that still pertains. Professor Maria Michaela Sassi of Pisa University has written an interesting paper(k) on the ancient Greek perception of colour, in the course of which she refers to the processing of the murex snail, noting that “Various nuances from yellow to green, to blue, to red could be obtained depending on how much water was added and when the boiling process was stopped”
>The ancient Greek identification of colour, particularly the absence of references to blue, is discussed by Ashley Cowie in a March 2021 article.(q) He notes that “The story of “blue being invisible in history” begins in 1858 when William Gladstone, who later became Chancellor of the Exchequer then Prime Minister of Great Britain, read Homer’s The Odyssey. Gladstone noticed that Homer described the sea color as “wine-dark” – leading him to ask the question; why not “deep blue?” Gladstone investigated this curiosity and counted the color references in The Odyssey finding that while black was mentioned almost 200 times, and white about 100, blue did not appear once. Broadening his research he then determined that “blue” didn’t exist anywhere in Greek writing. Nowhere.”<
There is some suggestion that the Phoenicians were not the first to develop this process following the discovery of mounds of Murex shells on Crete dated to the early 2nd millennium BC. It is also claimed that the Italians of the same period also knew of the procedure(g).
Over a century ago James Baikie noted that “the dyeing of robes with the renowned ‘Tyrian purple,’ must be denied to them and claimed for the Minoans. In 1903, Messrs. Bosanquet and Currelly found on the island of Kouphonisi (Leuke), off the south-east coast of Crete, a bank of the pounded shell of the murex from which the purple dye was obtained, associated with pottery of the Middle Minoan period; and in 1904 they discovered at Palaikastro two similar purple shell deposits, in either case, associated with pottery of the same date.”
It is difficult not to see a possible link between murex dye developed by the Phoenicians and the biblical injunction to Jews of the same region to wear blue (tekhelet) tassels (tzitziyots) from the corners of four-cornered garments. Recently, near the caves of the Dead Sea Scrolls a rare 2,000-year-old fragment of cloth was discovered(c) that had been treated with the Murex dye.
Michael Hübner pointed out that apart from Murex, Northwest Africa and the Canaries were home to the Indigo plant and the Orseille lichen, which both can be used to produce blue dyes(h).
Frank Joseph notes that Berber village elders even today wear special dark blue robes when meeting in council. This is seen as an echo of the custom of the kings of Atlantis as recorded by Plato Critias (120b-c).
A similar purple dyeing process was discovered in Central America(a) adding to the suggestion of pre-Columbian contacts between Europe and the Americas. In September 2016, it was announced(e) that “a George Washington University researcher has identified a 6,200-year-old indigo-blue fabric from Huaca, Peru, making it one of the oldest-known cotton textiles in the world and the oldest known textile decorated with indigo blue.” Unfortunately, the source of the dye was not identified. Even today, in Oaxaca, Mexico, shellfish dyeing is still carried on, but using the milky liquid from the purpura patula, a marine mollusc(f), unlike the murex mollusc which is killed in the process of obtaining the ink, the purpura have always been milked alive and left to replenish their dye fluid for harvesting at another time (See: video clip(m). A similar procedure is still employed by the Boruca people of Costa Rica (l). If there was a dyeing link between the Americas and the Mediterranean. in which direction did it initially travel?
In Appendix One of Andrew Collins‘ Gateway to Atlantis [072.357] the author offers further information on the extraction of purple dye from shellfish in parts of Central and South America. He thought that “Quite clearly, the presence of purple dye processes in Costa Rica, Mexico and Ecuador, as well as in Peru, could well constitute positive proof of transoceanic contact with ancient seafarers from the eastern Mediterranean.” Collins quotes two early 20th-century commentators, Wolfgang Born and Thomas Crawford Johnston, who also reached the same conclusion.
Pliny the Elder noted that Uba, a Numidian king, intended to establish Murex farming on the Hesperides located 12,000 km from Cadiz. This comment has been linked with a mention by Diodorus Siculus regarding a large island known to the Phoenicians outside the Pillars of Heracles. Advocates of an Atlantic location for Atlantis have seized upon these two references, although the linkage is somewhat tenuous.
There is an extensive online article(d) on the history and use of ‘Tyrian Purple’.
A few years ago the BBC published a short piece(i) on the chemistry behind the Tyrian Purple. In August 2018 they returned to the subject with a more extensive article(j) outlining the mythology and history associated with the dye.(i)
In 2020, it was reported(o) that a Tunisian man, Mohamed Ghassen Nouira, claimed to have rediscovered the secret of how to produce the famous purple dye and has developed a small business selling the dye.
A 2022 paper by Sarah Holz adds further background information.(p)
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!
In a short 2022 article, National Geographic describes the Olmec civilization as an ‘archaeological culture’. “This means there is a collection of artifacts thought by archaeologists to represent a particular society. What is known about archaeological cultures is based on artifacts, rather than texts.”(ac)
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 further criticism from Jason Colavito following shortly afterward (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), for 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 have had Hindu origins(t) and to be possible survivors from Atlantis and Clyde Winters holds similar views and has supported them with his book  on 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! Nevertheless, this speculative suggestion that the Olmecs were possibly Atlantean survivors has persisted until today, without a shred of any real evidence(aa).
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. Alessandro Demontis, who is something of a Zecharia Sitchin apologist, has written a short paper(r) on the leading proponents of the concept of an African origin for the Olmecs and argues that the academic background of many of them demands greater consideration of their viewpoint. Demontis thinks that to simply dismiss them as pseudoscientists is unwarranted.
The Negroid features that are clearly to be seen on some of the huge beautifully carved Olmec heads are probably evidence of an ancient link with Africa and nothing more. 17 heads have been discovered so far and like so many other megalithic monuments around the world have raised comparable questions. Some of the heads are up to 10 or more feet in height and weigh up to 12 tons.
The basalt stone used to carve the heads were often located many miles from their resting places, so the questions of how they were quarried and transported remain unanswered(ab).
Many think that the Olmec heads are the only evidence for pre-Columbian links with Africa, however, that is far from the truth as dozens if not hundreds of artefacts displaying African features have been discovered in the Americas(u)(v), although I cannot help noting that there is an obvious Asian influence in some of the figures!
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. Similarly, 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.
Archaeologist Betty J. Meggers (1921-2012), who worked at the Smithsonian Institution has made a study of the apparent cultural similarities between the Chinese Shang dynasty of c.1750 BC and the Olmecs dated to some centuries later. This she did in a lengthy paper in American Anthropologist in 1974(w).
Jason Colavito describes Patrick Chouinard as a gigantologist, who in his Lost Race of the Giants , argues that the Olmecs were merely one branch of an indigenous race of ‘red-haired giants’. 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.
This multiplicity of suggested origins for the Olmecs is confusing and was made more so by the observations of Bibhu Dev Misra that many Olmec artefacts show figures adopting a range of yogic poses, which adds to the possibility of an Indian cultural influence. His 2017 illustrated paper on Graham Hancock’s website is intriguing(x).
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 the words of a fictional character, Professor Mortimer, from a work by the renowned writer, Edgar P. Jacobs, as supposedly uttered by a real scientist(n), concerning the Pillars of Heracles.
Zechariah Sitchin in The Lost Realms  claims that the Olmecs were culture bearers who arrived in America circa 3000 BC, which conflicts with the date of 1500 BC proposed by conventional archaeology. Sitchin also quoted(s) Cooper’s heavily panned book, A Leap of Faith  in which he offered supporting evidence from a leading Mexican archaeologist, Pablo Bush Romero, for Sitchin’s early date for the Olmecs(y).
In 2006, it was announced(i) 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.
May 2017 brought an interesting article(q), on the Ancient Origins website, outlining the unique features of the Olmecs. Three years later AO published another article offering further information about the Olmec culture(z).
(a) See Archive 2532
(b) https://printarchive.epochtimes.com/a1/en/us/sfo/2007/11-Nov/29/B6_Sci&Tech_2007-11-29.pdf See: Archive 3316 *
(e) https://www.transformtheillusion.com/articles/David%20Childress/The%20Mystery%20of%20the%20Origin%20of%20the%20Olmecs%20.html (offline Nov. 2016) see Archive 2294
(f) https://ancientaliensdebunked.com/mystery-solved-olmecs-and-transoceanic-contact/ (offline May 2018) See: Archive 2295
(j) Archive 2776
(y) Atlantis Rising magazine #26 http://www.pdfarchive.info/index.php?pages/At
(ab) Atlantis Rising magazine #57 http://www.pdfarchive.info/index.php?pages/At
Costa Rica is home to one of the great megalithic mysteries of Mesoamerica, namely its enigmatic stone spheres measuring up to 10 feet in diameter and 30 tons in weight. The spheres were discovered in the Disquis Delta region of the country but unfortunately few, perhaps six remain in their original positions. They number in excess of 300 and it is claimed that they are perfectly spherical to within a couple of millimetres. Ivar Zapp and George Erikson have linked these spheres with ancient navigational systems in a worldwide culture that included Atlantis. At best their suggested connection with Atlantis is somewhat tenuous.
Zapp gave a talk in 2005 in which he identified a location in southwest Costa Rica as the site of Plato’s Atlantis(b).
A more objective review by professor John W. Hoopes of the University of Kansas, of the Costa Rican stone sphere ‘mystery’ can be found on the World-Mysteries website(a).
>A 2022 report describes recent excavations Disquis Delta region aimed at conserving badly weathered spheres there, “the team focused on the Finca 6 archaeological site located in the canton of Osa in the Puntarenas Province, in which stone spheres have deteriorated due to alterations derived from the constitution of the rock, damage caused by humidity, and floods resulting from hurricanes and tropical storms.”(c)<
Bosnia was dragged into the Atlantis debate in 2006 when a self-styled archaeologist, Semir Osmanagic, claimed that he had discovered five pyramids in his ancestral Bosnia near the town of Visoko. His claim received widespread media coverage and sparked a debate that continues today.
Osmanagic maintains that the largest one is bigger than the Great Pyramid at Giza and that the Bosnian pyramids date to 12,000 B.C. In response, Archaeology Magazine noted that “Construction of massive pyramids in Bosnia at that period is not believable. Curtis Runnels, a specialist in the prehistory of Greece and the Balkans at Boston University, notes that “Between 27,000 and 12,000 years ago, the Balkans were locked in the last Glacial maximum, a period of very cold and dry climate with glaciers in some of the mountain ranges. The only occupants were Upper Paleolithic hunters and gatherers who left behind open-air camp sites and traces of occupation in caves.”(j)
The Atlantis connection emerged from the belief of Osmanagic that the original ancestors of the Maya, Basques and other ancient peoples were descended from the peoples of Atlantis and Lemuria whose founders arrived on earth from the Pleiades. According to Osmanagic’s strange logic this gives the ‘pyramids’ of Bosnia an Atlantean pedigree.
Fortunately, Mark Rose, editor of Archaeology, who published a critical review(a) of Osmanagic’s weird ideas in Archaeology magazine, was also widely quoted, adding some balance to the debate. The same magazine carried a brief but highly critical review of Osmanagic’s theories from Zahi Hawass(h).
In 2006, Robert Schoch visited the Bosnian ‘pyramid’ and subsequently wrote a highly critical assessment of Osmanagic and his theories. However, sometime later, Osmanagic responded with a scathing review(c) of Schoch’s work!
In September 2014 the Science Channel aired an episode of The Unexplained Files series in the US, which attempted to justify Osmanagic’s claims. However, Jason Colavito has highlighted the many flaws in the program’s content(d).
A more sober attempt to link the Bosnian region with Atlantis has been made by Fatih Hodzic(b). Part of his theory attempts to identify the thousands of stone blocks or ‘stecaks’, spread widely in Bosnia, as remnants of Atlantean buildings. His ideas are interesting but unconvincing.
In 2014, Paul A. LaViolette visited the Visko pyramid in Bosnia and published an extensive illustrated article in which he expressed his amazement at what he saw there and concluded(g) that he considers “this to be one of the most important archaeological excavations going on at this time on our planet.”
Philip Coppens has also defended the reality of Osmanagic’s pyramids in The Lost Civilization Enigma[1275.39], nevertheless, the debate is still open as can be seen in a February 2016 blog(f), in which many reasonable questions relating to the construction of the ‘pyramids are still unresolved. For my part, I find Osmanagic’s personal credibility questionable, considering his previous claims regarding Atlantis and ancient aliens, which are not, in my view, the conclusions of a person with his critical faculties intact.
Another claim from Osmanagic emerged in April 2016, when he claimed that huge stone spheres that exist in Bosnia ‘prove’ the existence of an advanced civilisation more than 1,500 years ago(e)!
Atlantisforschung published an article by Osmanagi? in which he highlighted the Bosnian spheres while also referencing other spheres discovered in the Adriatic region as well as in various countries around the world(l). Conventional geology describes most spheres outside of Costa Rica as natural concretions(m).
Nevertheless, a pretty vigorous defence of the reality of the Bosnia pyramids was published by Richard Hoyle on the Ancient Origins website in January 2020(k).
Late 2018 saw the UK’s Express tabloid’s online edition entertain us with the headline(I) – Bosnian pyramid SHOCK: ancient civilisation received knowledge from SPACE.
(f) See: Archive 3187