Rennes-les-Bains Archaeology & Rhedesium Website

Paul Smith

9 March 2017

Today’s addition to the Rhedesium website is its latest obsession with a “mystery” or/and “treasure” in the area of the village of Rennes-les-Bains (only about 38,000 words long).

Entitled “The Gold of Gaul & Mythical Thermae Waters: Why would the Romans come to Rennes-les-Bains anyway?”, the Rhedesium website liberally mixes-in genuine historical data with the fantasy allegations of Philippe de Chèrisey, that will never be endorsed by mainstream French archaeology because it considers it to be lunatic fringe material.

The history and archaeology of Rennes-les-Bains is well-known. Numerous books have been written about it. Its Roman artefacts are displayed in the village museum.

It’s a well-known fact that the thermal waters of Rennes-les-Bains served as a tourist attraction in a similar way as Aix-les-Bains. Just like it’s a well-known fact that the region contains exploited mineral mines. This is nothing out of the ordinary.

The Rhedesium website uses historical accounts by Dr J. Gourdon, Guillaume de Catel, Lamoignon Basville, Etienne de Gensanne, Prefect Barante, Abbé Delmas, Louis Fédié and César d'Arçons – but none of those people ever believed in or referred to a “mystery” or “treasure” in the area.

Not even the Abbé Henri Boudet did that.

The story of a treasure hidden in a rock situated behind a Calvary in the Rennes-les-Bains car park was only recently invented during the late 1980s by believers in the Rennes-le-Château mystery. The claim is entirely without any provenance and is an air-drawn fabric.

Pierre Jarnac, a believer in the treasure of Rennes-les-Château, wrote about it in his magazine Pégase number 17 in 2006 without giving it much credence. Jacques Rivière referred to the story in passing in his 2006 book Histoire de Rennes-les-Bains.

The whole story can be considered a fabrication by believers in the fantasy treasure and therefore be complete eyewash.

The Rhedesium website acts as “a black hole which sucks in all our atavisms, a place to which everyone can bring his own ideas and be sure to find them reflected somehow”. The website therefore has nothing in common with archaeological or historical research – which is why it will always be set apart from mainstream archaeology.

The Rhedesium website lacks refreshing and exuberant scepticism. The Rhedesium website does not put anything to the critical test.

Rennes-le-Château Timeline