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0490 Innermost Asia : vol.1
Innermost Asia : vol.1 / Page 490 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000187
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[Chap. XI

slip, still retaining some Chinese characters, which emerged from a small refuse layer at the southwest corner.I4

Borderline   I now felt assured that the border line guarded in Han times had here kept close to the right

keeping to bank of the river, as I had already assumed in 1907 when we surveyed this ground from the high right river

bank.   road far away to the south. But no trace of the wall or agger which once must have passed the tower

survived in the belt of vegetation that lined the valley at this point. Nor was a wall traceable farther on where this belt gradually narrowed and finally gave place to bare clay, furrowed by the wind into small Yardangs, 4 to 6 feet in height. But a conspicuous tower rising above a bend of the river higher up afforded guidance ; it was reached after a march of about five miles from the last tower and, like it, proved to be of ancient construction.

Finds at   This watch-tower, T. xLI. b (see plan, Pl. 14), was built of layers of stamped clay and, being

watch-   in very fair preservation, still rose to a height of 29 feet on a base 20 feet square. With the help


T. XL!. b. of the foot-holes still surviving on the west face and of a rope thrown over the top one of the men

managed to climb to the summit. Here he found the wooden spoon T. XLI. b. 02 ; a rolled leaf holding some drug made up into small yellow rods, of ; fragments of leather, o6 ; and a coarse woollen fabric, 018, &c., as described in the List. Of the chips of wood, 04-5, one retained faint traces of Chinese characters. Among the abundant fragments of Han pottery found at the foot of the tower, the pieces of a vessel, 014-17, may be mentioned on account of their greyish-brown mottled glaze. An enclosure, measuring 27 feet along its northern wall, which alone still rose a few feet above the ground, once adjoined the tower to the west. The refuse of straw and dung dug up here yielded no finds ; but a broken Wu-chu coin was picked up outside. A low mound of earth, without clear indication of fascines, was found forming a rough semicircle to the north of the tower and probably represents a small segment of the otherwise wholly effaced Limes agger.

Clay terrace   Proceeding about two miles farther across a belt of bare clay almost wholly cut up into small

T. XLI. C, Yardangs, we reached a conspicuous clay terrace, T. xLI. c, which had been converted into a converted

into tower. natural tower by roughly cutting down the sides. It measured about 20 feet square at the base

and stood to a height of 21 feet. That it has been used as a watch-station and probably occupied for a long time was proved by the abundance of potsherds of Han type that thickly covered the ground near by, especially to the south. Here, too, a broken Wu-chu coin was found. A well-marked agger, about Io feet in height, passed round the eastern, northern, and western faces of the little Mesa at a distance varying from 32 to 36 feet. But no continuation of this mound to the east or west could be traced.

Watch-   We camped for the night by the river about half a mile to the south, and on the morning of

tower   April 21st resumed our survey eastwards. After proceeding only a mile and a half we arrived at

T. XLI. d.

T. xLI. d, a conspicuous tower of stamped clay, rising within 3o yards of the river bank and facing the lower end of the village lands of Chiu-tao-kou on the bank opposite. Owing to wind-erosion which had undercut the clay soil to a depth of 4 feet at the northern foot of the tower, that side had fallen down in solid blocks of pisé. The other half of the tower still stood to a height of about 28 feet. Ancient pottery debris lay in plenty at its foot, and the fragment of a Wu-chu coin was picked up near by.

Remains of   After covering another mile and a half across the narrow wind-eroded belt of clay between the

watch-   Sai and the river, we arrived at the westernmost foot of a low rocky ridge which juts out here


T. xLI. e. from the gravel-covered glacis towards the river. Noticing debris of Han pottery on the track

which winds here along the riverine terrace, I followed it up northward to a little hillock that rose some 3o to 40 feet higher. Fascines of tamarisk branches plainly marked this as the site of a watch-

" For specimens of pottery and a few other small relics, see the Descriptive List below, p. 419.