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DOWSING AND ARCHAEOLOGY

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Author Topic: DOWSING AND ARCHAEOLOGY  (Read 1678 times)
Bianca
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« Reply #15 on: May 24, 2009, 08:08:08 pm »





               
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« Reply #16 on: May 24, 2009, 08:09:39 pm »









Once again, his critics suggested that the lines themselves were 'due to some electrical phenomenon consequent upon disturbance of the earth's surface by man'; and once again Underwood denied this, saying that he had found track-lines across the thin turf of chalk downs, where no man-made disturbance could be seen.

But he could not say for certain what track-lines were: he suggested that they were connected in some way with regular fissuring in rocky sub-soils, but he admitted that he wasn't sure. One of the reasons for his uncertainty was that, unlike water-lines, the track-lines were not always continuous. They seemed to be interrupted at times, each hair-line of the nine-fold group forming a twisted loop on either side of the interruption. Where a track-line came to a dead stop, all nine of its hair-lines converged on the same point, often forming a spiral in the process.
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Bianca
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« Reply #17 on: May 24, 2009, 08:11:12 pm »





               
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« Reply #18 on: May 24, 2009, 08:14:09 pm »









The distinctions between water-lines, track-lines and Underwood's third type of 'dowsing influence line', the aquastats, have always seemed very minor to me but Underwood evidently felt that the differences were crucial.

Water-lines gave strong reactions, and they usually ran as single three-fold lines.

Track-lines were weaker, were nine-fold and usually ran in pairs.

Aquastats, like track-lines, were weaker than water-lines and always ran in pairs; but like the water-lines the lines of the aquastats were three-fold, not nine-fold like track-lines.

It's interesting that aquastats seem to coincide even more closely with the courses of tracks than did the track-lines: Underwood even temporarily re-named the latter 'geostats' to avoid confusion or so he thought! The aquastat pairs coincided with the edges of the roads themselves, and were always continuous; track-line pairs coincided with the outer edges of the roads' verges, and were often broken or distorted at field gates, junctions and wide points of the verges. Aquastats seemed to be more important than track-lines for some reason, for wherever the two types of line crossed each other it was always the track-lines that gave way.[16]

Underwood always assumed that all three types of line were 'lines of electrical equipotential' arising from 'geophysical anomalies' sub-surface rock-fissuring and the like and were thus permanently and immutably fixed in relation to the surface. The only exceptions to this general rule were one or two cyclical variations in the patterns that the lines formed, the cycles apparently being linked to those of the sun and the moon.[17] Therefore, suggested Underwood, the lines coincide with tracks and the like because some prehistoric priesthood had used them deliberately in laying out boundaries and marking emergency water supplies, and generally as 'good magic to impress the populace'.

Almost all the works of man, from the prehistoric period right through until the practice faded out during the Reformation and the European Renaissance, were directed towards this end, he suggested.

All sacred and secular structures in the landscape were designed to mark and define the various patterns formed by the three types of line and their interactions, patterns like the spirals mentioned earlier, and others called 'feathers', 'arcs', 'parallels', 'haloes', 'trivia', and so on. The underground patterns thus became the patterns on which structures were designed; they were the 'pattern of the past'.[18]

So, according to Underwood, this 'pattern of the past' determined the positions of all sacred and some secular sites, and all the major and some minor detail of any structures upon them.

Thus a waterline can be found under every altar in pre-Reformation churches, and two or more water-lines mark where a barrow was permitted to be built. Multiple water-lines (several water-lines running parallel, not necessarily at the same apparent depth) are indicated at ground level by marks on stones;[19] single water-lines are marked by ditches and the lower parts of lynchets (old agricultural terraces), among other features.

Aquastats mark the main courses of old roads, and are also indicated by linear mounds, by terraces and the upper edges of lynchets, by stone rows and stone circles. They can also be found to be coincident with the central axes of all old Christian sites, and appear always to meet a door, window or other gap wherever they go through walls at sacred sites Underwood suggested that it was 'forbidden' for them to be blocked.

Track-lines define where the edges of lanes and old roads should be; they also define animals' tracks and field-divisions, and solifluction or 'soil-creep' lines on the sides of steep hills.[20]
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« Reply #19 on: May 24, 2009, 08:15:16 pm »




             
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« Reply #20 on: May 24, 2009, 08:16:20 pm »




             
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« Reply #21 on: May 24, 2009, 08:17:43 pm »









Like many other dowsers, my own work tends to agree with Underwood's observations, as the illustrations show; but I've never been happy with the theories he derived from them.

They seem somehow too rigid, too exclusive to match either the information we can collect from other disciplines, or the overall 'feel' that we can get from the sites themselves.

I tend to side with Underwood's critics, who suggested that the patterns were 'the pattern of the present' rather than 'the pattern of the past'; but even that view doesn't match the feel of the sites, for there seems to be something else there as well.

Both Underwood and his critics are right, but both parties are too limited. If we may combine their views, however, and study their limitations, they may take us somewhere worthwhile.
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« Reply #22 on: May 24, 2009, 08:18:48 pm »




             
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« Reply #23 on: May 24, 2009, 08:21:23 pm »









We could say that Underwood and his critics set us an interesting 'hen-and-egg' conundrum: which came first, the patterns or the structures?

Underwood was certain that the patterns came first; his critics were equally certain that the structures the altars and the stones, for example were themselves the cause behind Underwood's patterns. Both parties were agreed that from a dowsing point of view there was definitely some kind of connection between the patterns and the sites and their structures: but then all the parties concerned in this particular conundrum were dowsers.

Many other people, both then and now, would maintain that the whole question was pointless and meaningless, for it was based on nothing more than 'unscientific superstition': dowsing itself, they would say, has no basis in fact other than 'mere coincidence'.

Now from my own experience I would dispute this view; but in a way these critics are right, for dowsing is un-scientific, and it is based on coincidence. But that doesn't prove that dowsing is meaningless and useless: much of that supposed 'proof' depends on what is meant by 'scientific' and 'coincidence'.

As usual, everything depends on your point of view. Most of these critics, I've found, have a very limited and distorted view both of what science is and what it does, and of what coincidence is. The misunderstanding of coincidence stems mainly from the misunderstanding of science, so I had better deal with the scientific side of the argument first.[21]
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« Reply #24 on: May 24, 2009, 08:22:10 pm »









The first point here is that we have to draw a distinction between science and technology. Their aims and principles are very different. The aim of science, crudely speaking, is to assemble the whole of knowledge into one consistent and coherent system; while technology is or should be concerned only with practical results. Science's main tool is logic, while technology assesses knowledge more in terms of its practical value rather than its logical 'truth'. For example, no scientist knows how even a simple thing like a light-bulb works: we have a range of models which explain how some aspects seem to work, but since they are not logically compatible as in the wave and particle theories of light they cannot be said to be scientifically 'true', in the classic and socially accepted sense of the word 'science'. But a technologist is quite happy to use these 'unscientific' theories in order to design light bulbs: the theories don't explain how bulbs work, but they do explain how the bulbs can be worked.

The same can be said of oddities like dowsing. We don't understand how dowsing works, but we do understand that it can be worked to produce usable results,[22] and we also understand how it can be worked.[23] In that sense dowsing can be said to be a technology, though it can't be scientific. There are in fact good reasons for suggesting that technologies are more closely related to traditional magic than they are to science but that's something I'll have to leave for another book.[23a]
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« Reply #25 on: May 24, 2009, 08:24:50 pm »









The other catch is the word 'coincidence'. Coincidence is simply co-incidence: things coincide. The whole of our observation of life is built up through observation of coincidences; some of them are meaningful, some are not. The only form of meaningful coincidence that classic science recognises is a particular form of repeatable coincidence called 'causality': when one action repeatedly precedes another the first action is said to cause the second one. Any other kind of connection between two incidents cannot be handled in a scientific manner; which is why in our culture, with its scientific bias, all other kinds of connection are dismissed as 'mere coincidence'.

But that does not mean that these other coincidences are meaningless: it simply means that they can't be studied scientifically. Instead of being assessed for their causal and logical 'truth', they have to be assessed for their value 'what use is this coincidence?' which brings us back into the realm of technology, as 'play it by ear', or the famous 'rule of thumb'. It isn't scientific, but it works, and that's what really matters.

Perceptual systems, like seeing and hearing and 'sensing', are interesting in this respect, because they compare the information coming in from a number of sources in order to decide the overall 1 value' of a given situation. Imagine if someone suddenly clapped their hands in front of your face NOW what would happen? You'd blink, and jump back, probably. The scientist would ask 'what was the cause of this?', but we can't give a definite scientific answer, because in that situation there are at least three causes, and science has to pin the answer down to just one in order to come to any logical conclusions. You would have heard the sound of the clapping, which is one cause; you would have seen the hands closing rapidly towards your face; and you would have felt the change in air-pressure as the hands passed by. Any one of these can trigger off the blink-and-jump reflex. Even imagining the blow can trigger off the same reflex, so we can't pin down the 'real cause', we can't tell 'how it really works'; the relevant 'signal' comes through, all the same.

This important when we look at dowsing, for dowsing works as a perceptual system.[24] The dowser's rod works because the dowser's hands give a reflex twitch to some signal; apart from certain rare cases the rod doesn't move entirely of its own accord. But this does cause problems if we try to study dowsing scientifically, for we can never be sure what the 'real cause' of any given reaction is. It could be a reaction to some magnetic or electrical stimulus; it could be a 'hypersensitive sense of smell'; it could be 'an unconscious knowledge of the terrain'; it could be some equivalent of sonar scanning; it could be something magical, like clairvoyancy or 'astral travelling' or whatever. An enormous number of models have been proposed and they do all make some degree of sense in practice.
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« Reply #26 on: May 24, 2009, 08:26:18 pm »









But the real problem is that all perceptual systems involve a certain amount of filtering in the mind, to separate signal information from noise, so the cause of any dowsing reaction or lack of it could equally be prejudice, preconceptions, wishful thinking, inattention, clumsiness, lack of physical or mental discrimination.

The ability to limit and control these faults is the basis of a dowser's skill; but in studying the work of any dowser, or of anyone working in similar fields, we do have to decide how much of their observation is real tallies with the physical world and how much is imaginary. The judgements I've made and will be making as we go along are based on my own experience and practical work, but you must judge for yourself.

So to return to our earlier conundrum, the various dowsers' results were real as far as I am concerned, at least in the sense that they observed something. But before we can interpret their results, we have first to decide what they observed and that's not easy, because so many kinds of stimuli, at several levels, could have triggered off their dowsing reactions.

Dowsing is a perceptual system, and all our ways of perceiving things are limited by the paradox 'Things have not only to be seen to be believed, but also have to be believed to be seen'. (If this isn't obvious, compare the propaganda of the various political parties at election time: it's the clearest example of people seeing what they want or expect to see.) So a dowser's beliefs about dowsing, the theories and assumptions on which he or she operates, limit not only what they see but also how they see it.
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« Reply #27 on: May 24, 2009, 08:27:53 pm »









For Underwood, and for most of his contemporaries, dowsing was 'the sensation of electromagnetic radiations'; Underwood in particular felt that it was solely the sensation or perception of some kind of 'radiations'. He thought that the lines that he perceived - the water-lines, track-lines and aquastats were 'lines of electromagnetic equipotential' resulting from the interruption of some force, emanating from the core of the earth, by 'geophysical anomalies' like faults and rock-fissures.

His idea was that these fissures interrupted the 'earth force' in much the same way as a spider's web interrupts a beam of light and casts a shadow on a wall. The different types of line were, he thought, probably different 'electromagnetic frequencies'; the patterns formed by and between them were the result of interactions between the different frequencies.

The lines and patterns originated from faults and fissures deep in the body of the earth: therefore, reasoned Underwood, the patterns thus formed on the surface must be permanent and immutable.

Because the patterns coincided with sacred sites and structures to a remarkable degree, the sites and structures must therefore have been deliberately chosen and designed to mark those patterns: hence the 'pattern of the past'. His critics held much the same beliefs about the causes of dowsing reactions: dowsing was the result of the perception of 'electromagnetic radiations', and water-lines were the shadows, on the earth's surface, of water-bearing fissures below. (This idea that water-lines are in fact 'images' is important, and I'll return to it shortly.)

They also agreed that the track-lines and aquastars, and the patterns they formed, were aspects of this indefinable earth-force: but they felt that they were not so much interruptions of this earth-force, as with water-lines, but surface diffractions of the force by the structures on the sites themselves. Underwood's patterns, they therefore suggested, were the 'pattern of the present' rather than the 'pattern of the past'.
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« Reply #28 on: May 24, 2009, 08:29:17 pm »










All this theorising assumes that the sole cause of dowsing reactions is electromagnetic in origin. But as we have seen, this is not necessarily the only cause of Underwood's results. As one of his critics put it, it's possible that most of his results came from his imagination rather than the physical world. I don't think that is so, but we do have to bear the possibility in mind. All of Underwood's theories are based on the assumption that the patterns he observed are permanent and immutable; if they are not, then his observations take on some new meanings. Underwood also assumed that the builders of the sites and structures deliberately incorporated the earth-force patterns into their work: but there is no reason why they should not have done it unconsciously, because it 'felt right' to them. If we remember that Underwood's theories are based not on fact but on assumptions, then we can go beyond his limiting 'pattern of the past' to something more directly relevant to today.

First, though, I'd like to return to that idea of the water-line as an image or shadow. This is important for a number of reasons: not least because it defuses the geologists' scientific objection to the dowsers' concept of 'underground streams'. Geologists say that, apart from limestone and chalk, no rock structure will carry the literal kind of stream that dowsers seem to talk about. Dowsers agree with this: the idea of an underground stream cannot normally make sense in terms of geological theory; but the dowsers point out that that is how they perceive underground water, and they realise that it may not be like that underground.

In retaliation the dowsers also point out that geological theory is limited by the way it perceives things, viewing the world underground solely in terms of overall structure rather than local detail: hydrogeology is useful for predicting the level of the water-table in any given area, but cannot explain why dowsers can find water in areas with 'bad' geology (like Somerset, where dowsers have always been active), on hill-tops and at other places that geologists had decided were 'impossible'.

Geology sees the large structure, but not the detail; dowsing sees the detail, but not the overall structure: they're just different ways of seeing things.
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« Reply #29 on: May 24, 2009, 08:30:29 pm »









So when Underwood described the water-lines as interruptions of some earth-force, that was simply the way he saw them; that may not be what they are in reality. Water-lines, blind springs and the like aren't real, physical 'things' at all: they are ways of defining and describing the apparent lines and points on the surface that coincide with certain kinds of definable water-flows below. You could call them a 'constructed reality', an imaginary reality, in the same way that the image on a radar screen or television screen is a reconstruction of reality.

To continue that analogy, the image on a radar or television screen can be distorted, or modified so as to add further information: wind-speed and direction, aircraft speed, alignment to the runway, and so on, in the case of an air-traffic controller's radar set. In the same way, the images of water in dowsing can be distorted to show further information, particularly of depth and the direction and rate of flow. In Underwood's system of dowsing these are shown by what he calls 'parallels' and 'flow-lines'.

Underwood uses the term 'parallel' for an image version of the so-called 'Bishop's Rule', a depth-finding technique that has been used by dowsers for centuries. Underwood's 'parallels' run parallel to the water-line and separated from the centre of the apparent line by a distance approximately equal to the depth of the water-flow at that point; while the Bishop's Rule states that if you walk outward from directly above the centre of the water-line, you will get a second reaction of your dowsing-rod at a distance out that coincides with the depth of the stream at the point which you started from. In both cases the rule is that 'the distance out equals the distance down'; Underwood's 'parallels' can be seen as the loci derived from measuring the Bishop's Rule outward from an infinite number of points on the water-line. Underwood's 'flow-lines' are small feathery lines, usually S-shaped, formed on both sides of the water-line; they 'follow' the apparent strength and direction of flow, rather like the eddy-currents formed in still air by the passing of a car.

Underwood maintained that these patterns, like all his others, were fixed and immutable (apart from a regular oscillation on a daily cycle), and thus formed part of his 'pattern of the past'. But we can see these patterns as Underwood's way of collecting information about depth and flow, for many other dowsers had other ways of collecting the same information, and never perceived Underwood's patterns at all. To them, Underwood's lines simply did not exist.
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