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J a n e t  M c E w a n

Can I? May I? Should I?


                                  Ardo House, Whitecairns, Aberdeenshire. 11-19 Sept.2010


Project Proposal


“Always the beautiful answer who asks a more beautiful question”.  E.E. Cummings.


Visitors to the Ardo House garden during the NEOS week will be invited to participate in a treasure hunt, which is part game, part experiment..

No written clues or map will be provided, other than an indication of an area of the garden wherein two small treasure troves have been buried.

Instead, a range of dowsing equipment, information and instructions will be available, and visitors invited to experiment with these to try to locate the buried items. Alongside the tools , images of the buried items will be displayed.

People will also welcome to make a random intuitive guess, without the use of the tools.

If the weather is bad, participants can also hopefully stay undercover (somewhere to be identified) and try using a map and pendulum method to divine the buried items.

Participants will be asked to mark the spot the spot where they think the treasure is buried with a coloured and numbered flag, which I will provide, and to leave their contact details.

At the end of the week the winner of the treasure will be the persons nearest the spots. They will be contacted and an arrangement made re treasure collection. Should more than one person choose the same place the prize will be divided.

I hope to be present on several days to give support./advise and document.

Note : The items will, be buried in the garden several weeks before the event.         J McEwan 2010




''Dowsing is the ability, latent in everyone, to discover things beyond the range of our normal five senses. Practice and use of the art in its many forms can open doorways to wider perceptions in all our experiences."

Hamish MIller.


Ardo Art is an artist's space based in the grounds of Ardo House, Whitecairns, Aberdeen. It forms part of the North East Open Studios (NEOS) Scotland's largest open studios event, an award winning, non-profit collective of artists, makers and galleries.

In 2010 Ardo Art invited 22 artists to repond to the theme of 'Treasure'  - producing artwork  to be sited in the buildings and grounds of Ardo House, which would be open to the public during for a week during the NEOS event.

After visiting the garden I decided to the event would provide an ideal oportunity to further my interest in dowsing.


I am grateful to Bart O'Farrell of the West Cornwall Dowsers, not only for

advice for this project, but also for some great dowsing days out last year.


What Happened?

Returning to the site 3 weeks after burying the two treasures- a small brass chest full of copper coins and a bag of 9 large anmethyst crystals, the ground apeared to have healed and I was not unconcerned that I woud not be able to locate the treasure easily at the end of the event.........

Over 6 days (4 of which I was present for and available to explain and demonstrate basic approaches)  94people took part in the

treasure hunt, mostly selecting either the metal L rods or tigers eye pendulum in the dowsing toolkit I provided.

A few people also experimented with the dowsing equipment iin an artwork installed in the grounds by Judy Spark - an artist also exploring dowsing at the event.

For most of the participants this was their first dowsing experience and there were a wide range of reponses.

Despite having spent some time in the company of dowsers, I had really no idea what to expect and it was quite exciting watching the work unfold.

The weather held up the treasure retrieval, but with fantastic support from Mary Cane (a talented dowser!) who also helped me bury the treasure we managed to locate the goodies and identify the winners without ruining too much of the lawn!



Many thanks to all the stars who took part in the treasure hunt. Without you there would be no work to show.

Congratulations to the winners who are :

Chest of Coins : Lorna Purvis

Amethyts : Fiona Littlejohn

Here are two 'maps' showing the positions of the flags across the designated area, with the locations of the treasures in yellow above and in red below.

The chest of coins is on the top left and the amethyst crystals on the lower right of the maps.

Fiona, who was nearest the amethysts,stated her technique was a 'wild guess', and after attempting to use the rods gave up with them and chose a spot 'randomly'.

I leave you to draw your own conclusions from this experiment/game/artwork, including which, if any, of these categories this effort might fall into.



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