The Rennes-le-Chateau research and discoveries on this page are part of my work with the producers of the Bloodline documentary.
By following the clues on the 'Sauniere messages' I was led to a cave in direct line of Sauniere's Tour Magdala in Rennes le Chateau. It was not the main ‘Magdalene’ cave that has had so much excavation over the years, but in a smaller side cave. On entering the cave I dug down almost a meter in the spot indicated on the clue, which was towards the back of the cave, and eventually found the small wooden chest.
The chest is old and though there are signs of rot, it has survived the years well, probably due to the mainly dry sheltered conditions of where it had been hidden.
The Old Small Chest
Extract taken from the Bloodline movie website:
"When Ben and I met with Antoine and Claire Captier to show them the contents of the chest, Claire recounted an interesting story.
While Claire had been living in the Villa Bethania with Marie Denarnaud, the old lady had told her a story about how she had given a chest of ‘'valuables' to her sister's husband who had property on the land leading up from the Couleurs river. Given where we had discovered this chest, the story made us all smile, this of course could be the chest that Ben had found." Bruce Burgess
As previously mentioned, the chest was discovered at a location near to Rennes-le-Chateau and as well as a small Glass Vial, it contained an old pottery Cup, an Anointing Jar and some old coins. The cup, jar and vial have since been dated as genuine 1st century Relics. The coins date from 100BC all the way through to the 12th Century, some of which were in circulation in Jerusalem at the time of Jesus and Mary Magdalene.
U-Tube link:Bloodline - Coins: Ben Hammott & Bruce show the coins from the chest to Richard Abdy, the curator of the Coin Department at the British Museum in London. He said that the 30 coins date from 100BC all the way through to the 12th Century, many of which were in circulation in Jerusalem at the time of Jesus and Mary Magdalene. Many were in very poor shape and had reacted over time inside the chest and had been in the ground for a long time.
U-Tube link: Bloodline - British Museum: With Bruce filming with his handycam Ben Hammott takes the chest and its contents to be analyzed at the British Museum in London. The items turn out to be a 1st century drinking cup; a 1st century, Jerusalemite, ungentarium or ointment jar ; and a 1st century alabastra phial containing a rolled parchment, which was later dated by Oxford University to the 15th century.
The chest itself was shown to an expert in antique French cabinetry for analysis who confirmed, in his expert opinion, that not only did the chest date from the 18th - 19th century, but the paper lining was consistent with book binding in the region at that time.
In 1907 Saunière enlisted the professional expertise of Henri Barret a librarian/bookbinder from Castelnaudary, to organise and bind some of his collection. Henri stayed with Saunière for three months at a cost in excess of 1000 francs. Perhaps Sauniere or Marie Dernanaud, his faithful housekeeper and constant companion, used some of the bookbinders end paper to line the chest with?