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The Stone Basin in the Cellar

What is this strange stone basin?

For a long time we had no idea until someone found something very similar in a book. It turned out to be a salting trough. In the seventeenth century the only way of keeping meat for a long time was to salt it. A joint of meat rubbed with salt would be put in the trough and covered over and left to cure. The trough is built into>the cellar wall but is 1.8 m [6 ft] above the cellar floor, where it would be protected from vermin and also has cool air circulating.

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