Biolocation Logo

Geoff Crockford BSc Hons
Nigel Hughes BSc Hons

Archaeological Applications


Dowsing is a familiar practice to Archaeology. It is used generally to find physical objects and structures in the ground. There is no doubt it has its successes but it also has its failures. Often the dowser locates energies, which are interpreted as real things in the ground, but on excavation nothing is found.

Such was the case during an extensive dowsing survey at the Historic Chenies Manor House in Buckinghamshire 2004.

During the survey of the grounds and adjacent fields the dowsing implied there were extensive physical structures in the ground namely foundations and tunnels.

Several tunnels under the house gardens exist and can be accessed. The purpose of these tunnels has given rise to considerable conjecture. This has included their use as escape tunnels, secret passage ways to move around the manor estate undetected and even to garrisoning and mobilising soldiers to protect Chenies distinguished guests and residents such as Henry VIII and Queen Elizabeth I.

Permission to investigate by excavation was given by owner Elisabeth Macleoud Matthews.

Applying the Paramagnetic and Diamagnetic model of dowsing it was clear the magnetic fields were real. Their source materials could be identified clearly using witnesses and the geometry, behaviour and interactions of the fields demonstrated.

Plotting Form is an essential technique in Biolocation. Form represents the point on the ground at which the dowser detects a magnetic field from a source in the ground by walking through it as it emerges above ground. The pattern that the source material is laid out in and the associated form lines have been shown by experiment to be synonymous. Therefore form on the surface can be interpreted as plan or blue print of the source material below ground.

Plotting has to be careful and meticulous. It is easy to get conditioned into following straight lines and regular geometric patterns and miss curves, zigzags, irregular shapes, changes in direction and even breaks in the line. Different lines can intersect or overlap and a wrong turn can be taken so to speak.

After careful checking by two different dowsers the form was interpreted as being walls or at least foundations or debris in the ground and possibly tunnels linking up with the tunnels around the house.

Systematic trench excavations revealed nothing and even drilling down in several places some 15 feet failed to find any physical structures. This was at first disappointing and certainly puzzling particularly because the dowsing responses were strikingly clear and convincing.

It was known that the fields from very small quantities of material could be detected and in fact powdered material and chemicals as a non-physical form could be dowsed. It was hypothesised a source of material in the soil having a non- physical form was responsible. A technique was developed to test this hypothesis whereby excavation trenches were precisely dug across form lines and the soil under the lines removed carefully in layers a few inches deep. Each layer was carefully placed in a bag and kept in the correct order of removal. As each layer was removed the trench cavity was dowsed and the bag containing the soil layer dowsed.

As the excavation progressed the form line could be dowsed as it was on the surface of the soil over the trench with no response from the soil in the bags.

Eventually a depth was reached when no dowsing response occurred over the trench but did when the removed soil was dowsed.

Subsequent removed soil layers and the trench produced no further Reponses.

This showed quite clearly there was a distinct layer of soil vertically down in the ground that was responsible for the dowsing.

Further techniques and experiments quickly established these extensive “physical structures” being dowsed were in fact layers of chemical material in the ground that produced quite intricate form.

The composition of these chemical layers was determined using witnesses and this showed them to contain the chemicals associated with bricks, mortar and flint. So in fact what was being dowsed was the chemical residue a combination of dust and possibly the actual chemical molecules from the material in the soil.

This discovery quickly led to the realisation that this process could be an extremely important revolutionary technique in Archaeology. Further research revealed buildings, other structures, activities and processes produce and deposit material and chemicals on the ground the nature of the deposition acting as a form of stencil.

If the ground is undisturbed the material will migrate down into the soil as a distinct layer maintaining the pattern as stencilled on the surface. In the case of Chenies what was being dowsed was the complete detailed magnetic blueprint of a working Tudor manor estate (originating from material some 2 feet down in the ground).

The survey showed up another aspect of the complexity of the dowsing phenomenon. The drainage ditches running from the estate were dowsing the same way as the tunnels in the house grounds during the survey. It was difficult to distinguish between them and as known tunnels were dowsed in the gardens it was logical to assume the similar dowsed features in the adjacent fields were also tunnels. However the extent of the engineering necessary to build such a system did give cause for concern. Techniques were eventually developed to distinguish between the two.

The ditches were long since filled sealing in their chemicals and preserving their geometry. The confusion with tunnels was further exasperated because the ditches ran directly into the tunnel system that then coursed under the manor house gardens. They opened out onto the side of a river valley well beyond the manor house. To distinguish between tunnel and ditch system required a detailed understanding of the behaviour and interaction of their magnetic fields. They could not be distinguished between by traditional dowsing. The purpose of the tunnels then became clear. They were a waste and effluent system carrying such material from the estate under the manor picking up its waste and effluent and away to the river valley. The chemicals from this effluent could be clearly dowsed in the ditches and tunnels right down into the valley.

Chenies provided conclusive evidence of chemicals forming distinct layers in the soil. Important principles using this process as an investigative technique were established. It can be visualised as an elaborate stain developing on the ground that migrates down into it over time as a complete system. The older the stain the deeper it penetrates. Its chemicals persist for hundreds even thousands of years.

The stain just a few inches thick is very intricate two dimensionally. Stains when dowsed produce magnetic fields that can be detected and drawn on the ground surface like a detailed set of plans or blueprints.

Different periods have different plans with their source having a characteristic chemical composition associated with that period.

Since Chenies techniques have been refined and developed and applied to a number of archaeological investigations with incredibly detailed and precise information being extracted from the magnetic blueprints dowsed.

One interesting application of this technique has been the study of Ley lines. Much has been written about the dowsing of them. As long linear corridors of energy they certainly exist and dowsers from all walks locate them skilfully. The interpretation of what they are varies considerably and of course they hold pride and place in the world of mysticism and spirituality. Many have been studied using Biolocation and these have quite clearly been shown to be old tracks and roads spanning hundreds even thousands of years. The reason they are corridors of energy is because the use of the surface for transport has resulted in an enormous cocktail of chemicals being deposited in a regular pattern. This cocktail set up a staining process precisely recording all chemical activity on the surface. It can be shown quite clearly, as at Chenies that in the Ley lines studied the energy is magnetic with its source being stains in the ground. For archaeology this means that these corridors have a complete record of the its use and activities going on along it. It is stating the obvious the importance of roads and tracks in connecting places and events in time and History. The development and use of wheeled transport throughout history follows a well-defined chronology and all this is evident in the stains underneath these tracks and roads.

There has been one such investigation that has connected places in time and history with astonishing results. Investigation into Iron Age sites has resulted in the development of an incredible if not contentious picture of what pre roman Britain was really like.

From extensive field research carried out all over Britain it has emerged that up to the Roman invasion a magnificent civilisation flourished in Britain with the druids at its very core. It was at the very least as magnificent as the Aztec or Egyptian civilisation. Its magnetic blueprint can be found all over the country and is more spectacular than any physical remains or ruins. They were superb engineers. They built magnificent temples and terraformed the landscape with roads and huge earthworks. Having an essentially a wood based technology there are very little physical remains for conventional archaeological techniques to find .The magnetic blueprint shows how Britains ancient sites such as stone circles, ancient earthworks and hill forts are all connected. The society was fundamentally peaceful by intent, intellectual and very spiritual.

Then the Romans came.........

The magnetic energy from the chemical stains of this civilisation penetrates up through Britains fields, our gardens, and even the concrete of our roads to this very day.

It has a dramatic story to tell to those who want to find out what Britain was really like before the Romans came and what happened when they arrived.

Copyright © 2007 N. Hughes & G. Crockford