Dowsing Archaeological Features;
An empirical study at Cressing Temple, Witham, Essex.


List of figures.
These include all the figures used in the original thesis. For copyright reasons not all of these may be published in this webspace.

All illustrations and photographs are by the author unless otherwise credited.

1. Colin Peal standing on the running board of his 1923 Bentley. With his wife Pat is the author Barry Crouch and his partner, Gill Hillman. (Barry Joscelyne).

2a. The layout of Cressing Temple in 1999 with the names and locations of the buildings mentioned in the text.

2b. The layout of Cressing Temple in 1999 with the positions of the known services and archaeological excavations.

2c. The layout of Cressing Temple in 1999 showing the major archaeological features.

2d. The layout of Cressing Temple in 1994 when the majority of the dowsing records were made.

3. The cover of J.Scott Elliot's book showing Scott Eliot using a V-rod. His belief in dowsing is beyond the mechanical and relies on a profound self-belief in the innate nature of man.

4. Colin Peal dowsing at Cressing Temple using simple wire rods. (1998).

5. A pair of rods made from galvanised fencing wire. Heavier gauge rods like these are better for day-to-day field work because they are less susceptible to wind movement and are less fragile.

6a.. The site of the chapel marked with garden canes and delineated with ropes. This photograph, when compared with the actual site plot, shows the inaccuracies that have been made through inexperience in surveying.

6b. Common garden canes suitably marked are used to demarcate the responses found.

7. A selection of rods made from wire coat-hangers and the tools required for making them; a pair of strong wire cutters and a pair of pliers.

8. The author holding the rods in the 'ready' or 'search' position. That is, at arms length, parallel to each other and the ground. Watches, jewellery, telephones and clothing will not affect the response. Gloves may do. (Gill Hillman).

9. The author detecting a buried structure or pit. The rods cross over to meet each other. The feature is always beneath the back foot. (Gill Hillman).

10. The author detecting a water-course. The rods point the direction of the flow. In this case it is an electric cable trench cut into the drainage layer and thus conducts the water as well as the electric cable. (Gill Hillman).

11. Map showing the topographical location of Cressing Temple close to the centre of Essex.

12a. GIS plot of Cressing Temple taken from the latest OS software running on ArcView 3.1. It is an object lesson in the trustworthiness of modern digital maps. Early maps were drawn to commission and the recipient would have had the opportunity to correct any failings. For this reason older maps and especially the First Edition OS created for the army have been shown to be relatively accurate.

12b.The underlying rasterised image for the GIS is so poor that it is useless for topographical analysis while the GIS themes still do not reflect the new visitors centre which is now two years old.

13. Chapman and Andre's map of 1777 showing the location of Cressing Temple. Its low resolution means that the buildings are only vaguely reflected in form. It may be, of course, that they were not allowed on the farm to complete the survey and so produced their views from the roadside.

14. The estate map of 1794. Produced in colour on vellum for Lady Waltham. The buildings by the road noteworthy as they no longer exist by the time of the first Ordnance Survey.

15a. The 1842 Tithe Award map is clinically penned and the accurate acreages in the Tithe records indicate that a fully measured survey was carried out of all the properties. Where it still shares the same topography as the site today it is seen to be reasonably accurate.

15b. A map created from the Tithe Award and super imposed on the 1876 OS map. The tithe free lands show the extent of the Templar holdings.

16. The 1876 Ordnance Survey is probably one of the most detailed maps of Cressing Temple and its accuracy is demonstrated to be high.

17. The 1894 Ordnance Survey is less detailed than its predecessor of 1876 but it shows that some small changes took place over the twenty year period. From now on the site remains relatively unchanged until it falls into the possession of Anthony Cullen in the mid-1960's. He allowed the site to deteriorate with the loss of two of the buildings. See Appendix Three.

18a. A newspaper cutting from the Times of the digs in 1934.

18b. A publicised search for the 'archaeologist' shown in the pictures resulted in only one response which stated that it was a Mr Campen. He was a well-known character who was little more than a fortune hunter and may have been responsible for the removal of many of the finds from Cressing temple.

19. The now retired site warden Mr Roy Martin re-excavated the Tudor cellar in the 1960's. Apparently it was full of rubbish and old tyres from its earlier opening. The run of the brick culverts can clearly be seen. The man is Roy's brother. (Roy Martin).

20. One of the Brain Valley Archaeological Society test pits made before the main excavations in 1979-81. The pits were unlocated and unrecorded. One, at least, was found in the subsequent re-opening of the excavations (CT29 T3) for the chapel where it broached the rammed gravel footings. (BVAS).

21. Final site plan of BVAS IV. The on-site plans did not match as they were unlocated and so a certain amount of 'creative drawing' was employed to tie them together. (BVAS).

22. Aerial photograph of Dovehouse Field taken by Barry Foster in the 1980's. Visible are the 'ice polygons' created by the glacial retreat. These mask the archaeological crop marks which are often invisible. (Barry Foster).

23. Computer enhanced photograph of the north-west corner of Dovehouse Field. This was scanned into Adobe Photoshop 5.0.1 by the author before being filtered to reveal the archaeological crop marks highlighted in red. These were also found by Colin Peal and the subsequent FAU remote sensing survey. Excavations open now reveal an Iron Age and Romano-british ditches. See Appendix Seven.

24. Results from the Bradford Geo-physics remote sensing survey. The resolution is poor and the report lacks a location plan. Compare Area 1 with Figure 25 which shows the mass of deep features excavated in the Walled Garden.

25. Mediaeval features located in the confines of the Walled Garden. The large central pit was nearly two metres deep but Bradford Geo-physics failed to locate it and many other profound features located just below the topsoil.

26. Magnetic profile of the central green at Cressing Temple by Geo-Services International. This is the least diagnostic of the three types of scan.

27. Electro-magnetic profile of the central green at Cressing Temple by Geo-Services International. Note the strong reactions for the buried cables and waterpipes.

28. Resistivity profile of the central green at Cressing Temple by Geo-Services International. This appears to give the most detail but like all the other scans has an hiatus in the centre of the green. This was due to lack of funding to repeat the Bradford Geo-physics surveys.

29. Site plan overlay with the dowsing plot produced by Colin Peal and main features of all the excavations. This plan incorporates several seasons dowsing which results in different alignments and some seasonal drift. The archaeological features are shown in red.

30. Isometric drawing of the cellar, its drains and the chapel footings. Because these were already known in detail and the cellar often seen as a parch mark it was not seen as necessary to record its position on a dowsing plot.

31. Close up of the chapel area showing the correct disposition of the features but poor location. Better on-site surveying and larger scale mapping would have avoided this error in the earlier plots. (Colin Peal).

32a. Mediaeval phase plan of the chapel area. Note the absence of features where the apsidal (rounded) end of the chapel may have been.

32b. Tudor phase plan of the chapel area. The brick built sluice box had four major culverts running from it. Other surface drains may have also dropped into it. Another culvert passes through the garden gate but its course is not shown on this excavation.

33a. Field drawing of the sluice box constructed of Tudor bricks and containing the impressions of a timber superstructure.

33b. Section drawing constructed from the BVAS IV site records of the western face of the culverts exiting the sluice box. (Not used here).

34. Phased plan of the south cellar incorporated into the 'stone hall' of the Greate House.

35. Location and major features of the south-west corner of the Greate House which is notably absent from the dowsing plots. Informed that his reactions were in fact buried modern cattle grids Colin Peal did not record them.

36. Resistivity survey showing the line of the culvert in the south-west corner of the site. Overlaying the dowsing plot gives a good correlation.

37. Sections through the Tudor culverts that cross the site. The sequence of dismantling is similar for all of them. It may be that they collapsed when they fell out of use and had to be backfilled for safety. It was not to rob the bricks as they are mostly still in-situ.

38. The area of the fishponds to the south of the site shown on the resistivity survey. The clear rectangle is the area of BVAS II and the blue colour indicates the extent of the ponds.

39. The photographs and plans of the BVAS II excavations shows the brick culvert to be destroyed from this point on, however a feature like this would leave a strong remnant reading.

40. Resistivity shows a large area of disturbance beneath the footprint of the Visitors Centre. This turned out to be gasworks brieze brought in to level the pigyards in the 1980's. Other areas are caused by field lime deposits.

41. Photograph of the participants during the Test Day. The author is near centre in black shorts and T-shirt. This is the first exercise looking for the water-main. (Eileen Crouch).

42. Photograph of all the equipment used during the Test Day.

43. A copy of the questionnaire given out to the participants. This is the one that Colin Peal returned. It is interesting to compare his readings to those of his previous surveys.

44. The location of the test areas.

45. The location of the gridded survey area superimposed onto a composite plot of the site.

46a. A compilation of all the survey plots. At first it looks a random jumble of crosses but examination of the repeated trends indicates several stronger responses which correspond with known features on the site.

46b. The dowsing trends highlighted for clarity.

47. The 'total plot' overlaid onto the site. Now the correspondence of features can be more easily seen.

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Barry Hillman-Crouch. MSt PA, Dip FA, BSc, HND. Written 1999 Published on the web June 2005.