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0309 Innermost Asia : vol.1
Innermost Asia : vol.1 / Page 309 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000187
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Before I describe the finds that rewarded the fresh examination of the ancient refuse heaps, Photo-

it will be convenient to refer briefly to the supplementary photographs which I secured of the graphs of


ruins. Fig. 151 shows the remains of the large ` Ya-mên '-like structure L.A. II 4 in the station.

foreground and the Stûpas L.A. x, xi in the distance. In Fig. 150 attention may be called to the dead tamarisk growth covering a small cone on the deeply eroded ground on the right. This is of interest ; for, as previously noted, such remains of vegetation, at a level reduced by wind-erosion considerably below that of the ancient surface, furnish evidence of the temporary return of moisture centuries after the site had been abandoned and lost the protection of living vegetation.5 The dead tamarisks which another view of the foreground to the south of L.A. II (Fig. 148) shows on a level even lower belong probably to a still later period. The depth to which the ground has been excavated by wind-erosion around certain structures of the site, as much as 3o to 35 feet below the original level of the third century, is strikingly demonstrated by the photographs, Figs. 146, 156. They show the ruined Stûpas x and xi, raised as they now appear on high terraces. The strata of clay laid bare on the sides of the latter are of geological interest as attesting successive periods of sedimentary deposition.

While small groups of men were detached on February 12th and 13th to search the ground in different directions for unexplored remains, I employed the rest of the labourers to clear away refuse deposits within the ancient station. Under a thin layer of drift-sand a large heap of consolidated refuse was discovered between the rush-wall quarters marked L.A. vi in the site plan of Serindia (Pl. 23) and the almost completely eroded structure v (Fig. 147).6 It was from 2 to 3 feet in thickness and consisted mainly of reed-straw and other stable refuse. But amidst this we recovered a considerable number of Chinese records, on wood and paper, including several complete slips and a portion of a rectangular cover-tablet with Chinese inscription, besides a paper fragment in Early Sogdian script. Among the miscellaneous relics found here may be mentioned a wooden seal-case, L.A. iv. v. 03 (Pl. XVI), of a type closely resembling the seal-cases found by me along the Tun-huang Limes ; a well-made but much-repaired leather shoe, L.A. iv. v. or (Pl. XXVII) ; a sheath-like object in very fine silk, L.A. iv. v. 014 ; fish-bones, L.A. iv. v. 018-19 ; and numerous fragments of silk and woollen fabrics. A few Chinese slips (L.A. vi. i. 1-4) were recovered in one of the rooms built of rush-walls in the structure immediately to the west of this refuse heap, while from another part of these quarters came the miscellaneous small implements shown in the List below under L.A. vi. v.

Encouraged by these finds, I had the big area of refuse, L.A. vi. ii, extending between L.A. vi

Finds in refuse heaps near L.A. v.

5 or 6 feet since the growth of this tamarisk-cone began. In the same fig. is seen in the foreground the debris of heavy timber which may mark the last remains of the gate leading through the east wall (cf. Serindia, i. p. 388).

Fig. 154. shows the much smaller terrace bearing the scanty remnant of the southern segment of the same ENE. wall face and lying quite close to what was the south-east corner of the circumvallation.

Fig. 1S3 exhibits the few portions of the northern (strictly west-north-west) face where remains of the wall foundation, in the shape of tamarisk fascines, are still traceable, marking the original ground level. The small dead tamarisk stems in the foreground of Fig. 153 are of interest. They had grown up and died young on ground which had been eroded already to a depth some 20 feet below the original level, presumably at a time when subsoil water had again temporarily approached the site.

In Fig. 150 we see the two small clay mounds that alone survive to indicate the line followed by the western wall. The timber debris strewing the ground between them probably marks the position of the gate that once led through the middle of the western wall face (cf. Serindia, i. p. 387).

Finally Fig. 155 shows the remnants of the southern rampart, the one least difficult to trace (see ibid., i. p. 386), as seen near the south-western corner.

4 For its detailed description cf. Serindia, i. pp. 375 sqq.

5 Cf. above, pp. x83, 205 sq. ; Serindia, i. p. 39o.

6 Owing to a misapprehension arising from the fact that I had, when I revisited the site, no copy of the plan of the eroded structure made in 1906, the finds made in this refuse heap have been marked erroneously with the ` site-mark ' L.A. iv. v. This has been retained in the Descriptive List, though the correct mark of the structure which the refuse heap adjoins is L.A, v.