Dowsing Archaeological Features;
An empirical study at Cressing Temple, Witham, Essex.
This is an important principle that is often cited by dowsers when what they claim to find is not physically seen to be there after investigation. Remanance occurs when an object has been removed from its locale at some time in the past but still leaves its signature at that point.
Without debating the validity of the theory in other types of dowsing it can clearly be seen that a structure such as a timber building, for example, can be completely removed from its original site without apparent physical trace. What will still remain is the magnetic field change the building caused by compressing the soil it sat upon and by the variable desiccation of its internal floors which would have been much dryer than the outside of the building.
Only extremely sensitive excavation and a clear understanding of, possibly, micro-stratigraphy will reveal features such as these. Unfortunately this is far from the norm in field excavation where it is commonplace to strip to the subsoil before looking for features classed as 'archaeology'. It is these remnants that not only dowsers but also magnetometry often find leading to the concept of ghost features or mistrust in either discipline.
Barry Hillman-Crouch. MSt PA, Dip FA, BSc, HND. Written 1999 Published on the web June 2005.