Slimbridge Dowsing group


Roundhouses - Archaeological dowsing at Cam Peak with Peter Gibson

A housing estate on Cam Peak car park? Well, not today, no, but there used to be - four and five thousand years ago.

When fifteen of us went to dowse Cam Peak on a very windy, cold and rain-threatening Saturday 28th May, our archaeology enthusiast Peter Gibson set us searching for possible roundhouses dating back to pre-history times, before the Romans came to Britain in 45 AD.

Peter had visited Cam Peak on a previous occasion and his dowsing rods had indicated a longbarrow. Today it was roundhouses, and dividing members into three groups, each led by an experienced dowser, proved fruitful indeed.

We dowsed several circles in a small area, which indicated several buildings built on the same spot at different times over the centuries. Members then chose different areas to mark the outline of a wall, either of stone, about a metre high to support the roof timbers and a thatched roof, or of wattle and daube with the roof timbers set in post holes in the ground.

The access door and central hearth were then dowsed for too, and both inside and outside dowsed for storage pits dug out of the ground, for keeping food and grain during the winter. The whole community would have had to be self supporting in every way.

Iron age celtic roundhouse A reconstruction of a British Iron Age Celtic roundhouse.

Most of the dowsed roundhouses were some 4m to 5m in diameter and dating indicated that they existed between 1200 and 3900 BC.

There were also two extremely large roundhouses, 13 - 14m in diameter, which could have been meeting houses or large homes for several families. The entrance was facing east, away from the westerly wind and weather, and possibly to catch the rising sun at the summer equinox or to observe the rising planets.

All too soon, the rain came down to close the training session but we plan to return to Cam Peak to see what else we can find. “It is a sacred area,” said Peter, “you can feel it.”

     Share this page with friends on facebook