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)
George Erikson is an anthropologist and the co-author with Ivar Zapp of a book that promotes the idea of a connection between Atlantis and Central America. There is a recording of an interview with Erikson available on the Internet(a).
*In 2006, Erikson was employed by National Geographic to assist with a documentary entitled Atlantis: Is it Real?(b) The documentary itself was pedestrian, ending on a fairly sceptic note(c). Erikson’s contribution focused on his claim that Maya civilisation has been influenced by refugees from Atlantis! In my opinion, he was not convincing.*
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.
America as the home of Atlantis took off as an idea shortly after its discovery (or perhaps more correctly, rediscovery) by Columbus. Initially, reports sent back to Europe designated America as ‘Paradise’
until its identification as Atlantis quickly took hold. John Dee in the time of Elizabeth I was convinced that the newly discovered Americas were in fact Atlantis, an idea endorsed by Francis Bacon. The first time that America was so named on a map was on the 1507(c) Waldseemüller map, sometimes referred to as “America’s birth certificate.” A rare copy of this map was recently found in Germany(e).
As late as 1700, a map of the world by Edward Wells was published in Oxford that highlights the paucity of information regarding the Americas at that time. However in this instance the accompanying text notes that “this continent with the adjoining islands is generally supposed to have been anciently unknown though there are not wanting some, who will have even the continent itself to be no other than the Insula Atlantis of the ancients.”
For over five centuries a variety of commentators have associated Atlantis with America and many of its ancient cultures together with a range of location theories that stretch from Maine through the Caribbean and Central America to Argentina.
Although most proponents of an American Atlantis, particularly following the continent’s discovery, did not specify a location, but were happy to consider the Americas in their entirety as Plato’s lost land. In 2019, Reinoud de Jonge published a paper declaring that from 2500-1200 BC America had been an Egyptian colony. He expanded on this in 2912(l) , when he claimed that the American colonies, North and South had supplied the copper and tin for the Bronze Age of the Mediterranean. For good measure he threw in a wildly speculative translation of the Phaistos Disk to support these contentions.
Over time attention was more focused on Mesoamerica and the northern region of South America, where the impressive remains of the Maya and Incas led many to consider them to be Atlantean.
North America received minimal attention until the 19th century, when an 1873 newspaper report(i) claimed that there was support from unnamed scientists for locating remnants of Atlantis in the Adirondacks and some of the mountains of Maine! More recently Dennis Brooks has advocated Tampa Bay, Florida, while John Saxer supports Tarpon Springs, also in Florida as Atlantean. To confuse matters further, Mary Sutherland locates Atlantis in the Appalachian Mountains of Kentucky and for good measure suggests that King Solomon’s mines are to be found in the same region!
For example, the discovery of the remains of the remarkable cultures of Mesoamerica generated speculation on the possibility of an Atlantean connection there. This view gained further support with the publication of Ignatius Donnelly’s groundbreaking work on Atlantis.
Some have seen an Atlantic location for Atlantis as a conduit between the culture of ancient Egypt and that of Meso-America(d).
Half a century ago Nicolai Zhirov claimed that Plato had knowledge of America [458.22] indicated by his statement that Atlantis was in a sea with a continent encompassing it. He thought that this was the earliest record of a continent beyond the Atlantic.
However, Plato also said that Atlantis was surrounded ‘on all sides’ by this continent, which is not compatible with the Azores, advocated by Zhirov as the location of Plato’s sunken island. In an effort to strengthen this claim Zhirov also claims that there is evidence that King Sargon of Akkad travelled to America in the middle of the third millennium BC, an idea that has gained little traction.
The idea of Sumerians in America was promoted by A.H. Verrill and his wife Ruth, who claimed  that King Sargon travelled to Peru, where he was known as Viracocha. The Verrills support their contention with a range of cultural, linguistic and architectural similarities between the Sumerians and the Peruvians.
More recently, Andrew Collins has promoted the idea of Atlantis in the Caribbean, specifically Cuba. Followers of Edgar Cayce are still expecting the Bahamas to yield evidence of Plato’s island. Gene Matlock supports the idea of a Mexican location with an Indian connection, while Duane McCullough opts for Guatemala. Ivar Zapp and George Erikson have also chosen Central America for investigation. Further south Jim Allen has argued strongly for Atlantis having been located on the Altiplano of Bolivia. A website entitled American Atlantis Research from Edward Alexander , now offline, was rather weak on content and irritatingly referred to the ‘Andies’.
Although much of what has been written about an American location for Atlantis is the result of serious research, it all falls far short of convincing me that the Atlantis of which Plato wrote is to be found there. No evidence has been produced to even hint that any American culture had control of the Mediterranean as far Tyrrhenia in the north and Libya in the south. No remains or carvings of triremes or chariots have been found in the Americas. How could an ancient civilisation from America launch an attack across the Atlantic and at the furthest end of the Mediterranean 9,000 or even 900 years before Solon? An even more important question is, why would they bother? There is no evidence of either motive, means or opportunity for an attack from that direction.
A number of Plato’s descriptions of Atlantis would seem to rule out America as its location.
(a) As mentioned above, the ‘opposite continent’ referred to by Plato (Timaeus 25a) is described as encompassing the sea in which Atlantis lay. America cannot be described as enclosing the Atlantic.>Around 550 AD, Procopius noted that when viewed from the southern side of the Strait of Gibraltar “the whole continent opposite this was named Europe”(m) (not America)!<
(b) The Greeks only knew of three continents, Europe, Asia and Libya. Armin Wolf, the German historian, when writing about Scheria relates(f) that “Even today, when people from Sicily go to Calabria (southern Italy) they say they are going to the “continente.” I suggest that Plato used the term in a similar fashion and was quite possibly referring to that same part of Italy which later became known as ‘Magna Graecia’. Robert Fox in The Inner Sea[1168.141] confirms that this long-standing usage of ‘continent’ refers to Italy.
(c) Herodotus described Sardinia as “the biggest island in the world” (Hist.6.2). In fact Sicily is marginally larger but as islands were measured in those days (Felice Vinci)  by the length of their coastal perimeter Herodotus was correct. Consequently, it can be argued that since Cuba and Hispaniola are much more extensive than Sardinia, the Greeks had no knowledge of the Caribbean.
(d) Plato makes frequent reference to horses in Atlantis. The city itself had a track for horseracing (Critias 117c). The Atlanteans had thousands of chariots (Critias 119a). The Atlanteans even had horse baths (Critias 117b). All these references make no sense if Plato was describing an American Atlantis as there were no horses there for over 12,000 years, when they died out, until brought back by the Spaniards millennia later. Furthermore, it makes even less sense if you subscribe to the early date (9600 BC) for Atlantis as it is thousands of years before we have any evidence for the domestication of the horse, anywhere.
A recent study of worldwide DNA patterns suggests that “no more than 70 people inhabited North America 14,000 years ago.”(b) But a more important claim has been offered by Professors Jennifer Raff and Deborah Bolnick who have co-authored a paper offering evidence(J) that the genetic data only supports a migration from Siberia to America. This certainly runs counter to any suggestion of transatlantic migration from Europe.
A 2013 book, L’America dimenticata , by Italian physicist and philologist Lucio Russo, claims that the ancient Greeks had knowledge of America and it was gradually forgotten because of mistakes made by Ptolemy including a 15 degree error for the latitude of the Canaries(g).
While there is extensive debate regarding the Americas being visited by ancient Greeks (Minoans), Phoenicians and even Sumerians, there seems little doubt that America had been visited by various other peoples prior to Columbus such as Welsh, Vikings or Irish. The case for the latter is strengthened by a 500-year-old report(h) of a long-established Irish colony in North America called Duhare.
America as Atlantis and the source of freemasonry knowledge was recently repackaged in a brief article on the Odyssey website(k) quoting Manly P. Hall who in turn cited Plato and Sir Francis Bacon. It then proceeds to speculate on what lessons the story of this original American Atlantis offers the America of today!
(m) Vandal Wars 1.1.7 *
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)<
The Red Paint People, sometimes referred to as the Maritime Archaic culture of the north Atlantic coast of America, particularly Labrador, got their name from their habit of covering their dead with red ochre. They were a seafaring people who lived around 5000 BC. Similar discoveries have also been made in the State of Maine(e), where they flourished until they disappeared around 1800 BC , according to Hilary Nangle in a guide to Arcadia National Park.
A similar culture existed in northern Europe and both are claimed, by ‘imaginative’ writers such as Shirley Andrews and Frank Joseph, to have been established by refugees from Atlantis after the destruction of their homeland.
Slate tools of a similar type have been identified in Scandinavia and North America dated to around 3000 BC(b). Skara Brae in the Orkneys ha been claimed as an outpost of the Red Paint People(i).
Ivar Zapp & George Erikson recount[244.309] how bones discovered in similar stone chambers in Labrador and on the island of Teviec off France were both covered with red ochre and both dated to around 5500 BC. Richard W. Welch refers to the Red Paint People as just part of a range of evidence to suggest that the Americas were originally settled by Europeans in prehistoric times.
There are also suggestions that the use of red ochre at burial sites may go back much further and would have been even more widespread.>Recently, ochre mining has been identified in a cave in the Yucatan and dated to 11,400-10,700 years ago(k).<
The Paviland Cave in south Wales held the skeleton of a young man dated to at the latest 19,000 BC. The most recent investigation has now pushed that date back to 33,000 BC(g).
The skeleton of a young child found at Abrigo do Lagar Velho in Portugal, was also discovered with red ochre and dated to 22500 BC(a). Further examples have been found across Europe and as far as Mesopotamia.
The discovery of further early trans-Atlantic links were announced in February 2012(c) by two archaeologists, Professors Dennis Stanford & Professor Bruce Bradley, in a newly published book – Across Atlantic Ice. Their claim is based on ‘Solutrean’ tools recently found in Delaware and five other east coast sites dated between 26,000 and 19,000 years ago. A sceptical view of their work should also be read(d). However, in 2016. the Soultrean Hypothesis was contradicted by genetic studies(f). Nevertheless, a recent documentary on the hypothesis has raised some controversy, as the program failed to refer to the use of the Soultrean Hypothesis by white supremacists(h). Jennifer Raff, who appeared in the documentary, has rejected the Stanford & Bradley theory in a new article(j).
The most ancient pyramid found in Mesoamerica at Chiapa de Corzo in Mexico contained the bodies of two rulers, coated in red pigment from head to toe. The pyramid is dated to around 700 BC. This may indicate a continuance of the same sacred custom over thousands of years.
(a) See: Archive 2855
(b) See: Archive 3589