The Dragon Project
This was inaugurated in 1977 by Paul Devereux, then editor the The Ley Hunter magazine, to look for physical evidence of earth energy/currents which was an axiom of the concept of ley lines. It was a valiant attempt get some science into the subject which suffered from a lot of unfounded conjecture. It was to stretch over twenty years, the first ten years involved physical monitoring of magnetism, ionizing radiation, IR photography and ultrasound, together with some biofeedback monitoring. The second ten years from 1987 invoved dream monitoring of volunteers at prehistoric sites, the physical monitoring was wound down in 1987, or at least was reported a lot less.
As mentioned in The Ley Hunter 79, In November 1977 this magazine called a meeting of scientists and technicians to discuss the possibility of conducting a co-ordinated programme of investigation into earth energies at prehistoric sites. [...]For simplicity's sake, the programme has been names The Dragon Project, the dragon symbolising the earth currents,[...]
Purpose: To detect by quantifiable physical and biological means, the manifestation of earth energy at prehistoric sites and to relate them both to the ultimate nature of earth energy and to the suspected prehistoric manipulation of this energyDon Robins, The Ley Hunter 80, 1978
Over twenty years this metamorphosed into the tagline of the Dragon Project Trust which sounds like something else entirely.
Researches into rumours about the power and properties of ancient "sacred" sites.
A summary of the current aims of the DPT
I was fascinated by the ideas of the original Dragon Project as a teenager, as well as by ley lines. Although the 1960s and 70s vision of ley lines as a network of energy linking sites has been largely debunked, it's clear that raising the stones mattered of people, a lot, even if they weren't some kind of prehistoric energy grid. Devereux came to the conclusion that the physical monitoring gave a null result. There are tantalising indications of some physical anomalies, in the magnetic field, as in the original Francis Hitching, Bill Lewis and Eduardo Balanovski magnetometer observations at Crickhowell, reports of ultrasonic emission at dawn and ionising radiation anomalies as reported in Circles of Silence
Magnetism and humans
The energy properties of the stones are said by dowsers to vary over time. The Earth's geomagnetic field does vary, both diurnally and with solar flares. To account for this magnetometer surveys usually have to track a reference at a fixed location, which doesn't seem to have been done in the Dragon Project work, so sometimes natural variation may have been detected as an anomaly. There seems to be some connection between magnetism and dowsing, though it may be part of dowsing rather than the whole. The human brain is sensitive to magnetism under certain conditions - studies of transcranial magnetic stimulation seem to pass scientific muster. It is, of course, a big jump from TMS to imagining a stone of magnetic properties having some effect on observers.
Prehistoric man will have lived in a much cleaner magnetic environment than we do. No ferrous metals, no electrical power systems, and less genetic distance to nomadic ancestors who may have found being sensitive to the earth's magnetic field of use in navigation; it appears humans have some traces of magnetite in the brain as well as in the ethmoid bone which is a source of magnetoception in birds like pigeons.
The Dragon Project used Geiger counters to measure radiation around sites. Sites in Cornwall will have elevated radiation readings because of the geology, and it so happens the Rollright Stones are also in a high radon area. Rollright was where a lot of the Dragon Project research took place because of its proximity to London.
A glance at the UK Radon map shows a high correlation with the distribution of standing stones in Britain. but correlation is not necessarily causation. Radon is associated with granite in the geology and granite is a good megalithic raw material. Some of the DP results show regions of lower radioactivity than background associated with stones as well as others with higher.
The Dragon Project also observed ultrasonic emissions from the stones, usually at crepuscular times and more likely towards the equinoxes.
a tantalising lack of detail
There's a tantalising lack of detail in the reports of the Dragon Project, and thirty years have passed since the end of the physical monitoring. The best summary of the physical monitoring I have seen is Don Robins' book Circles of Silence, which seems to indicate some anomalous readings. Some of these may be equipment issues and some may be experimental error - it is usual with magnetometer readings of a site to have a static reference reading from a fixed point because the geomagnetic field varies diurnally and with solar winds. There isn't a clear indication this was done, perhaps they used Eduardo Balanovski's method of nulling the meter before taking readings.
I am still intrigued by these observations, and may try and replicate some of them.