Mention the word dowsing and most people will think of a chap in muddy wellies trudging around a farm with a stick, looking for a good place to sink a borehole, or a fey type in a tie-dye T-shirt wafting about looking for mystical ley lines.
For centuries there have been believers in dowsing, a form of divination traditionally used to locate groundwater sources, and argument rages in the archaeological community about whether dowsers, armed with no more than a bit of bent copper wire and the power of faith, can also locate long-vanished Roman roads, Bronze Age barrows or prehistoric rock carvings.
However, even believers in the muddy wellies type of dowsing often have grave doubts about map dowsers, who claim to be able to locate such features just by holding a pendulum over a Google Earth satellite view taken from miles above a site. The debate has rumbled on through many archaeology forums, with believers and sceptics equally passionately engaged.
A website dedicated to prehistoric archaeology called the Megalithic Portal is now launching a competition to try and resolve the question, with would-be psychics and scoffers invited to join a hunt for archaeological remains from the comfort of their own armchairs. Read more
Friday, November 18, 2011
Dowsing Competition Pits Believers against Skeptics
Dowsers who claim to be able to locate archaeological features from maps are invited to enter a specially devised competition. Most challenges issued by paranormal "skeptics" are rigged in favor of the skeptic, but this one seems as if it might be fair.