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0270 Innermost Asia : vol.1
Innermost Asia : vol.1 / Page 270 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000187
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on the stone finds of 1906 from the corresponding area.9 I must therefore confine myself for the present to pointing out that apart from flakes and chips undoubtedly struck off by man but not offering evidence of having been utilized, they comprise cores (L.K. 0112, 0117) clearly proving local manufacture of stone implements ; rough celts, like L.K. 0127-9, 0161-2, possibly palaeolithic ; two-edged ` knife-blades ', like L.K. 0119-20, 0147, 0150, 0153, which survived from palaeolithic into neolithic times ; as well as at least one well-finished arrow-head (L.K. on 1) which is undoubtedly neolithic.

In close vicinity to the place where we had come upon the first stone remains, there was picked up under my eyes an excellently preserved Chinese coin of the Wu-chu type. It alone would have sufficed to prove the correctness of the conclusion I had already drawn in 1906 from the discovery of a single. bronze arrow-head of Han type about four and a half miles from Camp 121, that this ground had been visited by man in the first centuries of our era.10 Farther on small fragments of bronze and iron implements (L.K. 080-4, Pl. XXIII, XXIV), as well as of glass, afforded confirmatory evidence of traffic or occupation in historical times. Within about a mile of the ruined fort, we struck a broad well-defined bed marked by rows of thick Toghrak trunks, all dead but some still standing upright, on both banks. It was the bed that Tokhta Akhûn had rightly recognized as an ` ancient river ' and shown accordingly in the sketch he had brought back from his visit to the site. The old river-bed could be clearly made out as coming from the north-west and winding away from the point where we crossed it towards the east-south-east." On the ground separating it from the ruined fort pieces of broken pottery and of slag became more frequent than stone remains, and with them were mingled small fragments of bronze and iron, and abundant pieces of glass.

The ground above which rose the fort:was cut up by Yardang trenches and in places scooped out into deep hollows (Fig. 130). Notwithstanding the frightful havoc that the ramparts had in most parts suffered, the ruins showed up boldly. As seen in the plan (Pl. Io), the fort was built in the form of a slightly irregular oblong with its corners roughly orientated towards the cardinal points. Its longer sides facing north-east and south-west measured approximately 62o feet and the shorter ones about 33o feet. Though built very massively in the fashion to be presently described, the circumvallation had been badly breached by wind-erosion, as is well seen in the panoramic view (Fig. 133) of the interior taken from-near the north corner. Owing, perhaps, to the accumulation of drift-sand heaped up by the prevailing winds, longer wall portions had survived on the northwestern and north-eastern sides than elsewhere. But even there the corners had suffered badly, and had been almost completely eroded to the west and south.

The surviving sections of the south-west face, being for the most part clear of drift-sand on the inside, showed better than the other faces the manner in which the circumvallation was constructed. Though the materials used were rough, the construction of the ramparts was remarkably solid, and this alone explains how they could withstand the continuous onsets of that most destructive of forces in this region, wind-erosion. Its power on this ground was demonstrated by the depth,

Metal finds near old river-bed.

Ruin of ancient fort, L.K.

9 Cf. R. A. Smith, ` The Stone Age in Chinese Turkestan', in Man, xi. pp. 81 sqq. [But see now his remarks in App. N.] 1° Cf. Desert Cathay, i. p. 366 ; Serindia, i. p. 358.

11 Here as in other parts of the wind-eroded desert south of the latitude of the Lou-lan Site the Map No. 29 indicates the position and bearing of ancient beds of the Kuruk-darya delta merely by rows of the symbols marking the riverine strips of Toghrak jungle. The lines of dead trees could ordinarily be discerned with certainty for greater distances than the actual bed and were entered by me accordingly on the plane-table at the time with their exact bearings.

Where the elevated position of our fixing or other facilities of the ground permitted the actual depression of the old bed to be followed clearly by the eye for some distance, a continuous or broken line in black has been added on the map.

The indication of ancient river-beds north of the Lou-lan Site has been taken as marked in the original plane-table sheet prepared by R. B. Lal Singh, who, as a surveyor of long and varied experience and wholly unconcerned in geographical problems of a quasi-antiquarian bearing, could be trusted to record only what struck him at the time as plain topographical facts.

Effects of wind-erosion on ruin.