by Pauline Roberts
Dudley Wheeler’s call for papers on Archaeological Dowsing gave me food for thought. In Australia, some of the latent Aboriginal sites can be determined by dowsing as can the energy structures built into, or perhaps caused by them. However to me, archaeology is more about revealing previous tangible structures and societal evidence and as such is a pursuit aimed at delivering solid proof – the outline of a wall, well or temple previously unknown, the burial place of some treasure or artefact for example. The ‘problem’ with Australia of course is that the Aborigines did not seemingly build physical structures like many other cultures; or if they did, we are quite unaware as to their presence, form or function. This doesn’t of course mean that we can’t divine them, just that at the moment, I for one, don’t know where to start!
Nevertheless, dowsing Down Under should not be related purely to the infrastructure that occurred after the ‘colonial’ invasion of the 1770s, because discoveries have shown that Australia certainly has a fair share of solid archaeological artefacts which belong to other cultures.
Despite standard historical accounts, classical records from both the Near and Far East do suggest that Australia was at the very least visited by other cultures, in particular the Chinese, Egyptians and Phoenicians long before Captain Cook claimed it for Blighty in the 18th Century. The Northern outline of Australia appears clearly on Arabian maps of 820 AD, there are Aboriginal rock paintings of Arabian Dhows, and we know through ship wrecks and sea logs that the Dutch set foot in Western Australia from the early 1600s1.
The list of earlier ‘archaeological anomalies’ for want of a better expression is long and intriguing ((www.awarenessquest.com for a list of “archaeological anomalies” and other sites of similar interest. Discernment by dowsing suggested)). Egyptian mythology and funerary practises have seemingly been adopted by the Aborigines of Australia’s Northern reaches in contrast to southern and central Aboriginal belief systems; and numerous decorative scarabs and Egyptian and Greek coins have been found in Northern Queensland. ‘By way of return’ perhaps, kangaroo bones, ebony gold-inlaid boomerangs and Australian eucalyptus resin and sapphires have been found in Egypt and the Mediterranean. If the boomerang discovery is verified as of Aboriginal descent, it would be interesting to speculate who taught whom the clever aerodynamics boomerangs utilise.
Contemporary historians tend to refute the findings of ancient coins as those dropped by 20th Century European collectors – even when unearthed in virgin rainforest and buried several feet down. Just who would take their collection for such a walk, let alone lose it in the Bush, never gets answered. I suspect there are more examples to be found since Australia has a land mass close to the size of the US but only 19 million inhabitants, most of whom live in the 5 major coastal cities. The potential for more artefacts to be unearthed inland is probably high, particularly as Australia’s centre was not always the dry and harsh environment we think of today. In the states of Queensland and New South Wales, there is good evidence of pre-European open cut mines for copper, tin and gold which may explain why the Sumerians spoke of Aurali as the ‘Land of the shiny lodes’ and to the Phoenicians it was Ophir the ‘Land of Iron’23.
But what has all this got to do with dowsing I hear you ask?
Well, before I share an example of colonial archaeological dowsing, for I haven’t found any Phoenician vases as yet, I’d like to discuss briefly how some of these archaeological anomalies were found. Many are reported as finds ‘by accident’ – during the digging of fence posts, the ploughing of land or excavation of stones for building purposes. My point is that I wonder whether these finders are dowsing without realising it: their brain state is likely to be one of detached concentration – very dowsing – thus the post hole gets drilled in the ‘right’ spot and then the sun casts a glint on the uncovered object at just the right moment so it catches the eye. How many find reports I wonder are précised by – “I’d never have seen it except I just happened to……….” or “I just felt here was the place to dig”. After all, very few of the finders set out to find that Egyptian scarab or Greek coin – just think what they might be able to do after being taught to dowse!
Anyway, now for an example of conscious archaeological dowsing crossed with ‘by accident’ findings! Sarah Cowper, an Australian friend of mine, and I were dowsing around the shoreline of Sydney’s middle harbour, looking for evidence of past Aboriginal inhabitation (as is our wont) when our rods led us to a huge sandstone rock some 100 m from the high tide mark. We could feel the energy emanating from this rock and “yes” I thought fancifully, “this would be a good spot on which Aboriginal people could sit and eat their daily collection of shellfish and samphire”. But my rods continued to pull and led persistently to the more covered side of the rock. As I wriggled between the vines, cobwebs and straggly growth and trod carefully on the piles of dead leaves and detritus of the ages – ever mindful of how displeased the legendary Funnelwebs were likely to be at yet another ‘colonial invasion’ – I saw some faint markings.
n order for you to see them too, I have enhanced this image to show the engraved text and its basic outline. The date given is 17.9.89, which we quickly realised referred to 1889 since the plaque was beautifully engraved with florets and curves and had to be the work of a gifted stonemason – definitely not a piece of 1989 graffiti. The engraving feels very personal, almost good enough to be an epitaph or head stone in case the ship didn’t make it back to Blighty as was hoped.
Although my computer enhancement does not do the exquisite lettering and its surrounding decoration justice, one of our party, Richard Pigot, did manage to find out a little about T. Georgeson4.
The area we were in, which used to be called Powderhulk Bay, was where powder hulks such as the “Behring” were moored for storage of explosives before land magazines were built at Bantry Bay around 1915. Thomas Georgeson is mentioned as being linked with the powder hulks and of course fresh explosives would need to be brought from England to satisfy the new building demands hence perhaps the back & forth travel. It is rather fitting though that through dowsing, over 111 years later, Thomas Georgeson’s wish to commemorate his departure to Newcastle is once again brought to our attention.
© 2002 Pauline Roberts & BSD EEG
- Gilbert Deem 1999 Ancient & Mysterious Discoveries in Australia, Forward Hand Publishing, QLD Australia
- Rex Gilroy, Australia Land of the Pharaohs. Imagine Magazine. Issue No 2. Australia
- Rex Gilroy, 1995. Mysterious Australia. Nexus Publishing. QLD, Australia
- Richard Pigot. 2000. Private communication. Sydney. Australia with reference to:
Shelagh and George Champion. 1988. Explosives. Forest History 3rd Edn.