La Dépêche du Midi
26 April, 2001

Rennes-le-Château: Important archaeological discovery buried in the subsoil

A tomb predating the 5th century?

Excitement in the commune is at fever pitch. No, it's not Abbe Sauniere up to his old tricks again, but an archaeological discovery of the first importance that's been made on village territory.

According to our sources (which, admittedly, are very few) a team of Americans has been carrying out survey work in the commune. This was the same team that discovered the sarcophagi of Cheops in Egypt. In order to make this discovery, the team used new techniques that make it possible to use a kind of echography on the material under investigation. So it's possible to use this technique to find objects buried in the ground or hidden behind a wall, for example. Now this team has used the same techniques on the site at Rennes-le-Château.

In doing so it has discovered a tomb dating from before the 5th century. This discovery should (again according to our sources) be made public within a fortnight.


If the date assigned to this discovery is correct, then it belongs to the world of Late Antiquity. This would be first discovery from that period to be made on this site.

We do know, however, that Rennes-le-Château was an advance point of Visigothic occupation in this region from the 5th century onwards. It was a town of great importance: some say that 30,000 people lived there.

Excavations in the last century corroborate this Visigothic presence. Inside the church archaeologists found an altar, the base of a crucifix and some flagstones dating from this period. These remais are now on display in the village museum.

These facts do, however, raise certain problems. In order to date this discovery, excavations must have taken place. But, according to the regional directorate of cultural affairs (DRAC), dating a site without having an object to date is impossible. In such a case a permit has to be applied for. But the DRAC has no record of having issued such a permit. So is the dating certain?

The second point: when questioned on the subject the majority of the experts on this site expressed considerable astonishment. Some said that the dating was pretty implausible, while others told us that it simply wasn't possible.

For the problem with Rennes-le-Château its that this site is the subject of a genuine mythology. It's already been the scene of many ‘discoveries’, each more surreal than one that preceded it. When will the next one be? Well, you'll get an answer in 15 days.

E. D.

La Dépêche du Midi
13 June, 2001

Archaeological excavations undertaken in Rennes-le-Château

We will eventually know the true history of Rennes-le-Château. Archaeological excavations will take place in forthcoming weeks (they might be concluded by the end of the summer).

Such was decided by the municipal council last Wednesday. They were to be undertaken in conjunction with the Architect of Buildings in France and the Regional direction of cultural affairs (DRAC).

These excavations will allow the revelation of the crypt discovered beneath the church some weeks ago by the group led by J. Meril from California and directed by Doctor Eisenman from the university of Long Beach. Doctor Eisenman is represented in this business by the Italian Society Robada SAS which is an arm of the Vatican.

In order to discover this crypt, the investigators used a kind of echo location under the ground. Two tombs were found in this way. Following the location they were then able to date them. This was done by means of the many layers of sediment which covered them. As a result it was shown that the tombs were earlier than the Vth Century AD. The archaeological excavations will prove whether these findings are correct or not. The excavation can be undertaken by two methods, from the outside of the building via the garden or by breaking through the ground floor of the church itself.

A Chest buried beneath the Tower

Another important discovery which up to now has been carefully concealed from us is the object (which to all intents and purposes is a chest), and which was buried beneath the Tour Magdala.

“We never had the intention to proceed whilst being cloaked from public view. However we gave ourselves sufficient time to allow the community to prepare itself for the economic fall out which would result from this discovery,” quoted the Mayor, Jean-François L'huillier.

This chest measures 90cm by 1m. Remember that this tower was built by the Abbé Saunière.

The researchers are hoping to find within this chest parchments or documents which will allow the clarification of the beginnings of the history of our civilization.

Following these events, important security measures have been taken in order to prevent Rennes-le-Château from becoming a new centre for treasure hunters.

Since the publishing of this discovery by the Dépêche du Midi, theories have abounded. “since the announcement of this discovery on the internet, we have helped to unleash some wonderful theories” stated the Mayor.

Today, the Mayor hopes that the technology will allow the solution of the archaeological problems of the site by means of science.

E. D.