22 Sep

The mystery of the pierced skull of Rennes-le-Château - which was allegedly discovered by Sauniere under the dalle des chevaliers stone in his church of Sainte-Marie-Madeleine - might finally be solved!  

Although Sauniere is said to have replaced the skull back where he found it - 5 researchers from the Société d'études scientifiques de l'Aude re-discovered the skull. Under the auspices of Dr André Malacan, they excavated the subsoil of the church at a depth of approximately one metre, & discovered some bones that included a skull bearing an incision. Dr Malacan died in 1997 and the skull remained in the possession of his family. The grandson of Malacan eventually returned the skull to Rennes-le-Chäteau – following legal wranglings since April 2013 – & the story was covered in L'Indépendant (31 May 2010) and in La Dépêche du Midi (19 May 2010, 4 June 2010, 30 June 2014). The aim was to have the skull Radio-Carbon dated. 

The case of this pierced skull was unearthed by the son of the former mayor of Rennes-Le-Chateau, Germain Blanc-Delmas, in his latest book: "The skull with a hole of Sainte-Madeleine of Rennes -le - Chateau". After research worthy of a police investigation itself, Delmas finally had in his hands the very same skull, and he was finally able to send it for carbon 14 dating. The investigation had turned into a crusade. Appeals to readers of his book and the local papers were made, saying that the skull should be returned to the community of Rennes because it was indeed an historical element of Rennes-le-Château.

Delmas said: "I've received dozens of letters of support, from the Ariege, the Tarn-et-Garonne ... People write me to tell me that it is anomalous that such a relic is in the hands of others ...'.  In this crusade Blanc-Delmas received the support of Alexander Painco, mayor of Rennes-Le-Château. 

Painco said: "I contacted the person who had the skull last week ..." "I was not able to have a direct conversation [with  the grandson] and I left him two messages. I told him that the town of Rennes-Le-Chateau wants to retrieve the skull that has a historical interest in our village. It has to find its place in the museum or to be subject of study," said Alexandre Painco, who was optimistic about the outcome of the story.

Finally in 2014, the mayor received a hat box in which was placed the skull.

Carbon 14 Testing ...

The new challenge was now to date the skull and especially to try to identify who it might be. For that  the skull was required to be radiocarbon dated. But since the return of the skull - at the town hall - voices rose up to say that this is nothing short of a hoax - that the skull is a fake, & there was even talk of a new Piltdown forgery (the famous skull of the missing link that was in fact a sham) in the city council.

Second expert

A second expert - an anthropologist at Toulouse then conducted tests. "He gave the same conclusions as that achieved in 2009," Germain Blamc-Delmas smiled. "It is said that this is a male aged about 50 years ..." says the enlightened historian. "It is the skull of a young white man &  the mayor proposes to expose the skull in a showcase." 

Carbon 14 dates the skull between 1281 to 1396. 

Everyone now agrees. The outer bone depression at the top of the skull was caused by a blow firmly & forcefully with the help of a halberd [a two-handed pole weapon that came to prominent use during the 14th and 15th centuries]. Several hypotheses about the identity of someone between 1281 and 1396 has been commenced by Germain Blanc-Delmas, and he has launched a new investigation to determine to whom the skull could well belong. 

"Without scientific calculations the line of the  seigneurs de Voisins is indisputable. Pierre 1st de Voisins,  Lord Marshal of Montfort & head of the crusade against the Albigensian received the Razes and other places in bequests from the crown of France. Jean de Voisins, who died in 1291, enters first in the context of dates, it is the youngest son of Peter. Gilles, lord of Arques and nephew of  Peter III succeeded him. The first died in 1320, Peter III in 1340. Then Peter IV and Jeanne de Voisins took care the destiny of Rhedae (Rennes Le Chateau) for the desired period of the calibrated age. But he does not draw any hasty conclusions; "Because at the time of Reddis Caput (the name given to the skull:) Rhedae the citadel had experienced the onslaught of Aragonese and Catalans that destroyed the castle of the former counts, plus it is certain that the Templars were established in Rennes-Le-Château, the Order of Mas Deu,'