Fwd: [ANTHRO-L] ways of knowing
- -----Original Message-----
From: Thomas Riley <thomas.riley@...>
Sent: Wed, 3 Jun 2009 10:14 am
Subject: Re: [ANTHRO-L] ways of knowing
Lots of archaeologists use "witching wands." I don't, but I did a paper on their use in archaeology and geology and some experiments as well way back in the dark ages of 1978 or so. I did it with a class and they loved it. Really got into it. ?
The article was called "the archaeologist as witch" and appeared in the Field Museum Bulletin June 1978 Vol 49, No. 6: 6-11. ?
Basically, I argued that the user got subliminal cues that he or she (usually he, according to folk wisdom) couldn't put into words, and that the wands served as a "non-verbal statement" of these cues that couldn't be explained in other ways. This is what those Dakine, I ( mean locals, sorry!) were doing. Georgius Agricola, a famous metallurgist and mining engineer from Saxony in the 16th century wrote about "witching" in the sixteenth century. In His "De Res Metallica" , a great book -=-- honest! he writes about how witching works to pull together clues from the environment that even good engineers don't always recognize and that they cannot tell to others in any way that would give them confidence in taking action on them. I mean, what do you say? "Hey, I have this gut feeling that if you dig down 50 feet here you will hit water? Or -- How about writing a report in which you stated, "Something in my head told me I should lay a trench out beginning at this point on the grid and heading east 5 meters..." The wands give you a way of saying it. Now, how do they work? Gotta be human contact, so gotta be some subliminal signals to your hands and thumbs that you don't feel, but that are physical and help these things move decisively, cause they do for those people for whom these things work. I won't go on, except to point out that the subliminal cue explanation that Agricola came up with and that I agree with was the result of the Inquisition coming down hard on him for suggesting witching!?
Also, see Kenneth Roberts extensive works on water witching in New England.?
Martha Noyes wrote:?
> The City and County Board of Water Supply and its subcontractor are redoing?Subscription options and archives available:?
> the water pipes on the narrow dead end road on which I live on a mountain?
> ridge in Honolulu.?
> There have been all manner of survey equipment, mostly quite technical?
> electronic devices.?
> This morning as I walked my dogs I saw two workers, each with electronic?
> ground penetrating sensors, checking for other pipes and wires. But the two?
> of them also had copper wire dowsers and were using those as well.?
> I stopped to talk with one of the men about the technologies they were?
> using, including the dowsers. He called them witching wands and said they?
> didn't always work for him, but sometimes they did when the electronic?
> equipment hadn't shown something was underground at first pass.?
> He said the witching wands work well for some of the guys. He also talked a?
> little about other non-scientific searches, like passing a crystal over a map.?
> I asked him if he puts the wand-derived info in his reports, and he laughed?
> and said "of course not," but that after getting a positive result from the?
> wand he returns to the same spot with various electronic devices until one?
> of the pieces of equipment confirms what the wand told him.?
> I love this. It's much like the way "native knowing" ends up working. You?
> know what you know even if you can't scientifically describe or justify how?
> you know what you know. But, knowing it, you can then run around collecting?
> acceptable data that you wouldn't have known to look for had the "native?
> knowing" told you was there.?
> (As a by-the-way, the men I spoke with are part-Hawaiian, or at least?
> part-Polynesian, and I'm part American Indian (Huron and Ojibway).)?
> I'd love to hear if any of you have encountered this sort of "unscientific"?
> way of knowing things, whether or not you've come across it then being?
> verified in more acceptable scientific ways.?
> Subscription options and archives available:?
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