Members of The Curse of Oak Island team visit an ancient prison in Domme, France, on this week’s episode — where many Knights Templar were held captive in 1307 as they awaited trial.
Some interior walls of the ‘Prison des Templiers’ are engraved with Templar graffiti, which Rick Lagina, Alex Lagina and Peter Fornetti investigate.
The fortified town was built in 1281 by Philip the Bold as he battled along the Dordogne river. It sits on a rocky outcrop overlooking the river and is some 800 feet high, making it easy to defend and a difficult place to escape.
In 1307 members of the Knights Templar were incarcerated in the town as they awaited trial following their arrest at the hands of King Philip IV of France, who was heavily in debt to the order. Inside there are hundreds of graffiti carvings left behind by the imprisoned knights, many featuring a code they used to represent themselves and their fate.
An octagon meant the Grail, a square the temple on the mount, a circle around it all meant imprisonment and a triangle with a cross on top was to represent Calvary, where Christ is said to have be crucified.
The Templars had mixed fates with some confessing under torture to blasphemy and being burned alive at the stake. Others were pensioned off or merged into the Knights Hospitaller, with the similar order also inheriting much of the Templars assets.
Some Templar groups also changed their names to Order of Christ and and the Supreme Order of Christ of the Holy See, with most historians regarding both as successors to the order.
During their trip to France they also meet Sonia Mattossian, a descendent of the Rochefoucauld family whose story featured prominently last episode.
The Curse of Oak Island airs Tuesdays at 9/8c on History.