My guest for this episode is author Simon Miles, who joined me to talk about his recent book 'The Map and the Manuscript'.
This debut work documents an investigation of over more than twenty years into the "Affair of Rennes", a tangle of puzzles that has fascinated readers and researchers alike for half a century. A minor riddle of local history centered on a tiny village in the south of France became a global phenomenon, yet its greater secrets have remained tightly sealed.
Amongst a sequence of breakthrough original insights, "The Map and the Manuscript" reveals for the first time the traces of a remarkable artefact of the ancient world, a geometrical complex laid out with impressive accuracy and at large scale between certain peaks, churches and châteaux in the landscape of the Pyrenees mountains. This discovery leads to a far-reaching exploration across a rich expanse of topics, from sacred geography to French poetry, from alchemy to dreams, from the Temple of Delphi to the streets of Paris, from hidden designs in old books to secret codes in manuscripts.
In the interview I talk with Simon about how he became interested in these mysteries, and the key aspects of his research and investigation which have made a significant contribution to a wider reappraisal of the capabilities of landscape architects in the ancient world.