NOW here is a mysterious story from the heart of the Languedoc region, which has a touch of Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code with a sprinkling of Kate Mosse’s Sepulchre.
An underground tomb has been discovered by Englishman Ben Hammott near the small hilltop village of Rennes-le-Chateau, inside lies a mummified corpse.
The body rests on a rose-coloured plinth under a shroud bearing the distinctive red cross of the Knights Templar, and it is surrounded by wooden chests, revealing a cache of gold chalices and coins.
The discovery has been reported to the French government agency, Direction Regionale des Affaires Culturelles Languedoc-Roussillon (DRAC-LR), whilst a TV documentary will explore the story of the tomb’s discovery.
Bloodline will tell how a mini camera was used to access the chamber, featured in the clip above, while DNA tests have been done on a few hair strands from the corpse.
Bruce Burgess, director of Bloodline, said: “After the Crusades, it was rumoured that the Templars had discovered treasure underneath the Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem that could debunk the Catholic church’s doctrine.
“This treasure was believed to be priceless relics such as documents, the Holy Grail, even the embalmed remains of Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene, which was then brought to southern France, and hidden.”
Not surprisingly French officials are keen to ensure a full survey of the area takes place and intend to bring a scientific eye to the proceedings.
Jean-Pierre Giraud, of DRAC-LR, said: “This is certainly a very intriguing discovery, but it’s just too early to tell how important it is. We need to do a full survey of the site to determine the age of the corpse and the other items in the tomb.
“The archaeology department of the DRAC-LR will be carrying out an examination of the site as soon as access has been made possible.”
The area around Rennes-le-Chateau has long been wrapped up in the mysteries of the Holy Grail, although some say the legend was started by a local restaurant owner to boost business, but since the release of The Da Vinci Code visitors have flocked to the area..
Related article: Interview with Kate Mosse, author of Labyrinth and Sepulchre
Last Updated on 2 July, 2023.