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When two or more basins occur on the same block they are indicated by brackets. No. Il is a double basin, the two being connected by a groove 3 inches in depth. A similar remark applies to Nos. 22 and 23. The stone on which No. 39 is found contains several cavities which have been partially obliterated by the disintegration of the particles of the stone; or it may be by the hammers of the workmen who formerly made millstones out of some of the smaller boulders.
Dr. Borlase, in his Antiquities of Cornwall, confidently asserts that the ancient Druids made use of rock basins for baptismal and sacrificial purposes. The probability of this conjecture is admitted by the authors of the Beauties of Derbyshire; and again by Higgins, in his elaborate work on the Celtic Druids. This supposition also receives support from the fact of their occurring in such numbers, mostly on the tops of the hills, in so many counties, and in such different materials as the granite and the millstone grit formations.* Whether they have been formed by natural or artificial means is still a matter of dispute. Several are instanced as existing on Durwood Tor, which are from two to
* Dr. Borlase's argument is of a cumulative character. He observes that rock basins are always on the top but never on the sides of the stones; that the ancients sacrificed on rocks; that water was used by them for lustration and purification ; that it was even consecrated and worshipped as a Deity; that it was not permitted to touch the earth; that snow, rain or dew was preferred by them to running water ; that Euripides notices the practice of worshippers being “ besprinkled” before going to the temples; that Pliny observes that the Greeks bad " sacred rain,” and preserved rain-water in cisterns to offer to their gods; that Petronius asserts that the Egyptians purified themselves with water before voting; that Job alludes to the same custom; that the Druids practised similar rites, and held rain or snow-water to be holy; that Pliny says their priests washed their feet in holy water, used lustrations, and practised baptismul rites; that the Druids attributed a healing virtue to the gods which inbabited the rocks; that they used to sleep upon rocks for the cure of lameness; that their priests stood upon rocks to wash, sprinkle and drink; that Pliny again says that the Samolus plant, or hedge hyssop, was bruised in small cisterns, and that small basins were used for offerings, so that by evaporation they could go to God. All these considerations, he conceives, favour his opinion that rock basins were used, if not formed, by the ancient Druids. It is beside the question to urge the improba. bility of all this on the ground that Cæsar and Tacitus do not expressly mention rock basins. A chapter on the rock worship of the Druids might be expected in a treatise on the Druidical rites of Britain, but not in such general descriptions as those contained in the works of Tacitus and Cæsar.