Page:A Book of Dartmoor.djvu/104

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.
70
THE ANTIQUITIES

a flat stone is found bedded in the soil near the centre to support a pole that sustained the roof. In some instances a hole has been discovered sunk in the floor near the middle, with the charred remains of the bottom end of the post in it.

In the cooking-holes have been found cooking-pots made by hand of the coarsest clay, usually round at the bottom; where not round, with transverse ridges of thick clay forming a cross to strengthen the bottom. These pots were too fragile to stand the action of fire on a hearth, and served by having meat and red-hot stones placed in them. Consequently they do not show signs of exposure to strong fire externally, and are black with animal matter within, which may be extracted by means of a blowpipe.

One found at Legis Tor had been cracked and was mended with china-clay. It had a cooking-stone in it. There would seem to have been in use as well shallower vessels that were covered with round slate discs. None of these have been recovered whole. Possibly they were employed to hold curd or butter.

Occasionally round stones, flat on one side and convex on the other, have been disinterred in the huts. They served to protect the apex of the roof, where the poles were drawn together, from the action of the rain, which would rot them, as well as to prevent the rain from entering at this point. An example of a stone of the same character employed for this very purpose may be seen in actual use on a thatched circular pounding-house on Berry Down, near Throwleigh.