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22 Supplement to the Antjquitates Americana:. whole structure rests. The inhabitants of the neighbour- hood call it a bath; hut it seems more probable, and this is also the conjecture of the Irish Antiquarians, that it was a Baptistery. The ornaments were all of blue marble, both within and without, and when perfect it must have been a master piece of its kind. A structure, on which so much pains had been bestowed, may doubtless seem to have been intended for a nobler destination than to serve as a bath. The Ante-Columbian structure in Newport bears so much resemblance to this octagonal building1 that it must appear probable, that it was intended for a similar Chri- stian use, and has possibly belonged to a church, or a monastery founded in Vinland by the ancient Northmen. The idea which I have formed from the scanty in- formation of the 12th century respecting the relations with America at the epoch in question, I shall now proceed to lay before my readers, leaving to a more fortunate futu- rity, which will doubtless be possessed of much additional light, to clear up, correct, or confirm the views, which, guided merely by the feeble glimpses of the present mo- ment I have been able to discern. In Scandinavia at the introduction of the Ileformation the Monasteries were abolished, and almost every trace of them in their original state is lost. We have it not in our power, there- fore, to shew any similar building. If we may judge from some hewn stones, which originally formed part of one of the buildings belonging to the Monastery of Vestervig in Jutland, but now pulled down, the said building must have been of an octagonal shape, probably a Baptistery, like that at Mellifout Abbey, de- tached from the Monastery. The stones in question have since been made use of to enclose a well; and in order to employ them without rehewing them, it has been necessary to give the enclosure an octagonal form.
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Supplement to the Antiquitates Americanæ


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