If its really the chainring bolts, use anti-seize copper grease. Not on the threads, but on the interface that surrounds the bolts. The surfaces it contacts with the rings, the chainrings contact surfaces with the crank arms.
It will eliminate the sound. I had that issue a long time ago on some low end cranksets that didn't have the best tolerances. Irritated the hell out of me, did the above, and the creaking was done with.
I guess an upgrade to record would make it go away!
Saying that, Athena isn't really budget so it shouldn't creak at all!
I think your point regarding the contact surfaces is a good one. I may dissaemble it all, get new bolts then do what you suggested.
Stella - I have check the pedals and they seem OK. The noise is the same type of 'fragile sounding crack' that I had previously when the CR bolts had worked loose, which is why I am certain it's the same issue. It's a very recognizable high pitched cricking sound lijke a paper clip hitting on a frame for example.