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0556 Innermost Asia : vol.1
Innermost Asia : vol.1 / Page 556 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000187
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Ruined fort east of Umne-gol.

Ruins of Adana-

Fort of Ad anakôra.

Chronological indications.


and a flanking line of tamarisk-cones, and passed south-west into a wide gravel plain supporting low scrub in most places. After proceeding about two and half miles from the river, we came upon

a belt of luxuriant Toghraks, and on emerging from it sighted to the south a small ruined fort,

which was said to bear the name of Sokhalo-köl, besides the general designation Ulan-diiriiljin. Its walls were 12 feet thick and about 24 feet high, and enclosed a square of 49 feet. They were

constructed of solid bricks, measuring 14 inches by 8 and 6 inches thick, with a layer of reeds

inserted after every six courses. The whole bore a decidedly ancient appearance, but nothing was found within or around to furnish a definite chronological indication. The eastern wall showed

a breach, not due to wind-erosion, and the masonry on either side of the entrance leading through the southern face was broken. The close agreement in the size of the bricks with those used in the Limes towers near Mao-mei deserves notice.

Continuing to the south-east across the flat expanse of gravel, patches of ground closely strewn with potsherds were repeatedly met with, suggesting former occupation. But no structural remains were traceable. Fragments of fine glazed ware pointed to Sung or later times. After passing here and there through thin rows of tamarisk-cones we arrived at the large ruined fort known to the Mongols as Adûna-köra. Many dead Toghraks lay fallen around it, none of them apparently of great age, which suggested that jungle had grown up here some time after the occupation of the site and had subsequently died away again owing to want of moisture. A shallow bed masked by tamarisk-cones could be traced winding to the east of the fort. I may also mention that before reaching this we came across what looked like the line of a small canal trending to the north-east.

The fort of Adana-kôra, as the plan in Pl. 16 shows, consists of two walled enclosures, one within the other, but not concentrically placed. The walls of both are built of stamped clay, those of the inner enclosure being about 20 feet thick and those of the outer about 12 feet. The walls of both enclosures on the north and west faces have been reduced for the most part to the condition of mere gravel-covered mounds, clear evidence, it seems to me, that the attack by wind and rain comes mainly from those sides. The inner fort (Fig. 234) encloses an area of about 83 yards square, while the outer forms a quadrangle measuring about 220 yards from east to west and about 18o yards across. The gate of the inner fort leads through the middle of the southern face ; that of the outer is situated on the east and is protected by a bastion enclosing a court about 4o feet square. The walls throughout show rows of holes, where large pieces of timber were doubtless once inserted for reinforcement and have now rotted away. This complete decay of the woodwork appears to indicate that less arid climatic conditions than the present prevailed here at one time.

No structural remains could be traced within either enclosure. Nor were pottery fragments as plentiful as they were outside. They include many pieces of good glazed ware (Pl. LI), of which specimens are described in the List below, and which Mr. Hobson ascribes to Sung times (see App. D). The only definite chronological evidence was supplied by five Chinese copper coins, which were picked up on ground close to the outer wall on the east. Four of these are K`aiyiian pieces, current throughout Tang times, while a fifth shows the Nien-hao Hsien ping, corresponding to A. D. 998-1004. This last coin makes it clear that the ruined fort must have been occupied, at least intermittently, down to Sung times. From the absence of structural remains, taken in conjunction with the abundance of potsherds, I was inclined to conclude that the circumvallation had primarily served as a place of refuge or halt for caravans, &c., moving by the Etsin-gol route. The main cultivated area of the ` City of Etzina ', from which according to Marco Polo's testimony all parties frequenting this route to and from the heart of Mongolia had to draw their supplies, was found by us to lie fully ten miles to the east ; the convenience of a safe halting and victualling