Dowsing Archaeological Features;
An empirical study at Cressing Temple, Witham, Essex.
23. Test survey.
The aim of the dowsing test survey was three-fold. Firstly; to attempt to ratify Colin Peals recordings on a selected, unexcavated part of the scheduled monument by producing a large number of readings from other dowsers who could have no possible knowledge of what was on the site.
Secondly; to prove or otherwise that dowsing for archaeological features can be achieved by anyone, experienced or not.
Thirdly; that readings thus obtained could be accurate and repeatable. By mapping the excavations on the monument, which, with the exception of the BVAS digs of 1978-1980, all remain unpublished in archive form and by designing the survey area to connect these excavations it is possible to extrapolate the likely archaeological features, none have which have been seen in living memory. The picture of what should be there is further reinforced by the remote sensing survey carried out in 1995.
By examining trends exhibited in drawn surveys by a diverse and unconnected body of people brought together solely for this experiment without their prior knowledge of the content of the experiment any intimation of charlatanism should be obviated. The author did not dowse the gridded area of the site while the tests were in progress neither did he inform Colin Peal beforehand of the content and nature of the tests or the location of the grid.
Colin was requested to take part and fill out a questionnaire after the tests were completed but on the same day. His name appears in the results database to distinguish him from the other participants. Of all the other participants only one person was previously known to the author.
25. Method of Recruitment.
Random recruitment was carried out by Press Release. This was written by the author and released through the Essex County Council Corporate Services Department. This led to a number of press interviews for newspapers followed by a live broadcast on BBC Radio Essex on the morning of Friday the 23rd of June1999. A television feature was released on Anglia TV at 5.00pm on Saturday 24th of June and this attracted most response.
Barry Hillman-Crouch. MSt PA, Dip FA, BSc, HND. Written 1999 Published on the web June 2005.