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on the Lost Cities.' Even without the inscription that was discovered at the reservoir, the dimensions of the bricks would enable any one acquainted with this table to affirm that the enlargement or improvement of this irrigation work was undertaken in about the twelfth century.
ANCIENT ROCK CUP-MARKS
S the Vaeddas were unacquainted with the art of smelting iron, or making any metal tools, and appear never to have had any stone tools of their own manufacture excepting very rudely made arrows and 'scrapers,' etc., no early stone-cutting in any form can have been done by them. What knowledge of the art was possessed by the primitive Nāgas is quite unknown, as no work that can be attributed to them has been discovered, nor, I believe, have any stone tools or weapons been found in the northern part of the island. Any early rock-cutting must thus have been done by the later immigrants or those who learnt the art from them, or by persons employed by them.
Some of the most ancient and undoubted work in stone which can be recognised at the present day in Ceylon consists of the cutting of the kaṭāra, or drip-ledge, over the earliest caves, and the carving of the earliest cave inscriptions under it-(both, however, works that indicate a good prior acquaintance with the ordinary use of the stone-cutter's chisel)in the second half of the third century B.C. For reasons which are given in a later chapter, there is a possibility that some excellent stone-cutting in some sluices may be of about the same date.
It is certain that the men who employed the tools for such purposes were not mere learners of the art of trimming stone. The cutting at the earliest cave inscription exhibits a freedom and accuracy of touch which are a clear proof of previouslyacquired skill. It may be concluded with certainty that these stone-cutters had either been brought over for the special purpose from India-where the Bharhut and Gayă sculptures
prove that stone-cutting had been practised for a long period prior to the reign of Aśōka-or had possessed in Ceylon a long acquaintance with the art, even although any very early work done by them cannot be recognised now.
The Mahavansa (i, p. 149) refers to a 'colossal and beautiful stone statue' of Buddha which was carved during the reign of Dēvānam-piya Tissa, probably in about 235 B.C. (and which may be the large statue now at the Abhayagiri monastery); but a special work of this kind might be done by one or two men imported from India, and does not prove, like the other works, a general knowledge of stone-dressing in Ceylon at that period.
Neither dolmens nor circles of stone posts, on which cupmarkings are sometimes cut in other countries, being known in Ceylon, the only cup-shaped holes that have been met with occur on the natural faces of rock masses or boulders. Some later outline carvings were also left on a few stone slabs or steps, evidently the work of the stone-cutters who were engaged in trimming them; or were cut on rocks as boundary marks of the various districts into which the island was subdivided.
The shallow cup or saucer-shaped holes such as are found on rocks elsewhere are uncommon in Ceylon, and I know of only a few places where they occur. One of these is the hill Ritigala, where Mr. H. C. P. Bell, the Government Archaeologist, informed me that he met with some, accompanied, I understood, by circles. He has not yet published a description of them, I believe.
Another site is a rock lying in the bed of the Kallāṛu, a stream in the Northern Province. As an ancient stone dam of unknown date, but probably pre-Christian, now called the Allekaṭṭu (Fig. 147), was built across this stream at the place, the work of cutting the holes appears to have been done by the men engaged in its construction. The holes are six in number, and in shape are excellently cut deep saucers, with wellsmoothed sides and bottoms. The illustration, (Fig. No. 54), shows that after making seven wedge-holes in order to split off this stone for use in the dam, the masons left it untouched,
evidently on account of the cup-holes in it. They are thus at least as old as the dam. Five holes are distributed nearly in the circumference of an ellipse, with a larger hole at its centre, an arrangement that at once recalls the mode of placing the food offered to the God of the Rock by the Tamil-speaking Vaeddas. The width of the whole design is II inches, each hole being from 1 to 2 inches in diameter, and about 1 inch
A third place at which I have met with these holes is on a nearly flat-topped boulder at the side of a path in the forest, at a place called Sigaraṭa-hēna, near Pulugannawa tank, in the Eastern Province. The plan (Fig. No. 55) shows their relative positions. Near them, on Near them, on the same rock, there is a shallow circular channel one inch wide, half an inch deep, and 16 inches in diameter, with a tapering radial cut at one side, apparently to drain away water or oil. At a distance of 18 inches from this there is a peculiar sunk rectangle, measuring 23 inches by 15 inches, with a short curved channel cut from one corner. In a north-and-south line passing through these, and 7 feet 6 inches from the centre of the circle, there is also a hole of the larger and deeper type next described, 8 inches in diameter at the mouth and 5 inches deep, with a rounded bottom. The boulder on which the holes are cut is 24 feet long.
In this case the holes are close to the site of an important early monastery, and they may thus be assumed to be the work of the men employed in building it. The brick fragments at the place are 2.5 inches thick and 8-8 inches wide; thus Bt. (the mean breadth multiplied by the mean thickness) is 22 square inches, and the contents becomes 330 cubic inches if the length was six times the thickness, or 275 inches if it was five times the thickness. These dimensions point to the second, third or fourth century A.D. as the period when the bricks were burnt, and the holes may be of the same age.
A fourth site is on the sloping surface of an immense rock termed Gal-maediyā gala, ' the Stone-Frog Rock,' which rises high above the surrounding forest, two and a half miles above the point where the river Siyambalan-gamuwa-oya crosses