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.
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”
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 that apart from Murex, Northwest Africa and the Canaries were home to the Indigo plant and 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-Colombian 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?
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 know 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.
In 2020, it was reported 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.
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 further 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), 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!
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 Olmec carvings are probably evidence of an ancient link with Africa and nothing more.>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. 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.
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 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.
(a) See Archive 2532
(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) See: Archive 2776
(l) http://www.orbs.fr Issue #5
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).