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Pond dipping may seem to
be an unusual activity for Historians but the group had read about the
rare fauna to be found in some of the
ponds in the parishes of Thriplow and Fowlmere. These creatures had first been identified by
Martin Walters in the 1960s with details published in "Nature in
Cambridgeshire" in 1972 and 1978.
When looking at aerial photographs we noticed many pingos surrounding the village. Before being ploughed flat they would have been a significant feature of the landscape and even now several are still visible. In wet seasons, such as occurred in Autumn 2001, the rise in the water table causes ponds to appear in some fields.
Eggs of the Fairy Shrimp can survive for over two years in the dried out mud from a pond. Repopulation after water accumulates can be rapid, allowing the adult stage to be reached before the mud dries out again.
2000 we asked Dr David Trump, who had excavated the tumulus in
1953-4, to talk about his finds. At first he had not been able to
locate the precise site - field boundaries had changed so much over the
years - so he got out his dowsing rods. The site turned out
to be just where it can be seen in the
aerial photograph which was taken later.
Several group members tried the technique of dowsing in another field, finding some similarities with a later resistivity survey. Dowsing is thought to be influenced by the gravitational pull of the earth and can make use of rods formed from a variety of materials such as metal coat hangers or sticks.
|Links to more details|
|Documentary evidence||Plane table surveying|
|Place name analysis||Resistivity surveying|
|Aerial photography analysis||Dowsing and pond dipping|
|Geology||Courses and visits|