Dowsing again.

Some more people who think they’re doing archaeology by waving sticks about. This one fails to provide any support for its claims (though the journalist is nice and neutral about them), and interestingly, doesn’t try to hide the supernatural mechanism behind the idea or dress it up in pseudoscience;

“We all leave a footprint behind – both physically and spiritually – wherever we go, and dowsing allows us to glean an understanding through a metaphysical connection.”

In other words, dowsing is magic.

The only advantage the dowsing has is that it’s cheap/free. Which is no advantage at all if it doesn’t bloody work. Which it doesn’t. At least the hall’s owners haven’t wasted money – only time. The frustrating aspect to this is that because it’s been chosen as a cheap alternative to real archaeology, no real archaeology will be used to confirm/disprove any of the findings, at least, not for a long time.

Advertisements

Tags: ,

6 Responses to “Dowsing again.”

  1. Ray Girvan Says:

    Hmph. I had to (figuratively) bite my tongue regarding a news item was expected to put up on a website I run for a client: a piece of bilge about “Dowsing for Devon’s Heritage” – I won’t say more, but you can Google the lecture title.

    Dowsing is thoroughly pernicious to archaelogy. There’s a fascinating investigation called the Frome Tunnels Project – http://www.frometunnels.co.uk – where they’re only just starting to conduct real studies that aren’t contaminated by garbage “mappings” by dowsers.

    • bshistorian Says:

      Thanks Ray, needless to say, I agree! The tunnels are interesting – I’ll have to look into tunnel myths in general one day – I’ve often come across unsubstantiated stories of secret tunnels (Rosslyn Castle – the chapel for one).

  2. Facey Romford Says:

    Oh dear: they seem to be getting in everywhere:

    http://heritageaction.wordpress.com/2012/06/27/festival-of-dodgy-british-archaeology/ . It really is time that we all stood up to this sort of drivel. I blame this interweb thing, for raising every stray lunatic to the level of an authority.

    Years ago, I was excavating a rather interesting prehistoric sepulchral/ ritual monument, in a fairly remote upland location. A well-addressed, elderly chap turned up one day with, strapped to his chest, a box from which sprouted various wires, antennae, probes and headphones- clearly home-made and rather in the manner of Mr Heath Robinson. After asking very courteously, he wandered around the site with his machine, and then off into the wider landscape, burbling happily to himself. He had referred to his device as .my detector’, though he never did explain what it was that he was detecting.

    • bshistorian Says:

      Wow, that sounds amazing! In a silly way of course, but right up my street. Home-made, I presume?

  3. Facey Romford Says:

    Indeed: it was built around (as I recall) a wooden box, about the size of a biscuit tin, fitted with sundry dials and knobs.

    Further to the dowsing issue, I have just been reading a most peculiar book, ‘Ghost and Divining Rod’, by the heroically contrary T.C. Lethbridge: he manages to equate the ‘energies’ and ‘vibrations’ on which the dowser is so dependant with a complicated mythological world of naiads and dryads. You will be familiar with Tom Lethbridge through the ‘Gogmagog controversy’, which was hilarious until it became tedious and which drew in characters as various as Margaret Murray, F.E. Zeuner, W.F. Grimes and Stuart Piggott.

  4. Gogmagog « The BS Historian Says:

    […] extremely helpful Facey Romford has pointed out this classic example of the danger in favouring experience over evidence. […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: