Dowsing Archaeological Features;
An empirical study at Cressing Temple, Witham, Essex.
22. Comparative Studies.
2.0 The south cellar and the stone hall. (BVAS IV, CT29 T1/ T2). (Figure. 34).
34. Phased plan of the south cellar incorporated into the 'stone hall' of the Greate House.
2.1. There is more ambiguity about this area due to Colin dowsing the area twice over a period of years. He produced two overlaying plots, the first in 1991 shows a close correlation with the orientation of the cellar and its divisions. The second in 1994 also picks up elements of the structure but bears a lesser resemblance to the actual features as uncovered and appears to indicate a larger complex.
This cellar was backfilled and then later levelled with a huge lens of gravel and sand over a brick-rubble dump. It may be reasonable to assume that while giving a substantial reading it would also confuse any attempt to find a straight line. However within the confines of the technique there is a closer alignment of features than suggested by mere coincidence.
2.2. What can also be seen is that the line of the mediaeval ditch which underlies the stone hall has been clearly delineated and traced all the way to the moat bridge.
2.3. What perhaps is more significant is that Colin failed to plot the course of the huge brick culvert that runs through CT29 T1 and is believed to cross the site from CT29 T3. Why? The answer is simple. At the time Colin was starting out on the survey and had little dowsing experience and no archaeological experience at all. He tried to rationalise and make straight lines wherever possible and the large number of features made this very difficult.
Instead he traced a series of discrete features and alignments which in hindsight can be created from the features registered on the remote sensing survey. The drains have been dug out and their capping removed before being backfilled to level ground and it may be that they ran beneath other buildings. The large circular feature was located again independently during the Test Day ran in July 1999.
2.4. A redundant waterpipe and a disconnected electrical cable also pass across this part of the site and these are clearly shown in the magnetometer survey. Colin was able to identify these and ignore them in his survey.
2.5 The modern fence line removed before the County Council bought the site in 1987 is accurately plotted.
Barry Hillman-Crouch. MSt PA, Dip FA, BSc, HND. Written 1999 Published on the web June 2005.