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0315 Innermost Asia : vol.1
Innermost Asia : vol.1 / Page 315 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000187
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Rows of dead Toghraks, prostrate or still upright, marked an ancient dried-up water-course winding, at a distance of about half a mile to the south, with a general direction from south-west to north-east. Fig. 145 shows some tamarisk-cones rising on eroded ground near this channel and still retaining here and there live bushes on their tops. Within the bed of the channel, about 25 yards wide and not more than 6 to 7 feet deep, a low growth of living tamarisks was also to be seen in places. Afraz-gul had found that the character of the ground, as Fig. 145 shows it, remained much the same, as he proceeded eastwards, as far as his Camp xciv a (Map No. 29. D. 3). On his way there and on his farther journey to the north-north-east, he had picked up some fragments of metal and stone (L.D.–L.G. 02-4, 017-20) as well as a dozen Chinese coins ; the latter include a Huo-cli`iian piece, while the remainder are of the Wu-chu type, some retaining their inscription but others much clipped.1° He had come across no structural remains beyond L.D. until about three miles from Camp xciva, when he came upon the timber remains of a completely eroded dwelling, L.G., on a Yârdang. The leg of a wooden food-tray which was found here, L.D.–L.G. oi, closely resembles those recovered from the ancient burial-place to be discussed in Section I II.

Beyond L.G. the ground changed from wind-eroded clay with remains of dead vegetation to a level flat of salt-encrusted soil or coarse sand. I was unable to visit this ground myself, but think it highly probable that we may place near L.G. the eastern limit of the area which, during the early centuries of our era, shared the physical conditions prevailing around the Lou-lan Site L.A., and was accordingly capable of permanent occupation of a settled type. It was near L.G. that we were able to trace the easternmost extension of the Kuruk-daryâ delta, in the shape of an ancient river-bed. The salt-encrusted wastes that stretch farther east probably formed part of the barren foreshores of the great ` Salt Marsh ' ; and into this salt waste, as an early Chinese record discussed elsewhere clearly shows, the waters that once filled the Kuruk-daryâ beds used to empty themselves in the period before the abandonment of the ancient route through the Lou-Ian area.20 With the nature of this ground, more desolate even than the wind-sculptured desert of the ancient delta, I was soon to become familiar farther to the north.

Ancient river-bed and remains beyond L.D.

Foreshores of dried up ` Salt Marsh '.


L.A. or. Fr. of pottery vessel, in three pieces (joined), with trumpet-shaped mouth and one small loop handle (prob. two when complete), curiously flattened above and below and evidently intended for suspension by a cord. Round neck a zigzag band is roughly incised, and on shoulder another line of single zigzag. Clay badly washed ; black, burning dull red ; very hard. Diam. of mouth 41", h. 5f ". Pl. XXVII.

L.A. 02. Fr. of rectangular pottery framework (several pieces now joined), made of bars forming a lattice of holes 2" sq. One corner and three squares intact. Prob. ` pinjara panel for building. Well preserved. Length r2", gr. width 4g", depth 1-i"; thickness of bars r at back, slightly narrower on front. Pl. XXVII.

L.A. 03. Fr. of pottery, of indifferently washed clay ; fine deep red colour. Burnt very hard. Well preserved. 3"xI"xi".

19 See Appendix B.

20 Cf. Serindia, i. pp. 423 sq., for the account given in Li Tao-yüan's commentary on the Shui ching of the termina-

L.A. 04. Back ridge of wooden saddletree ; in shape an angular crescent, with one horn very short and broken on upper edge. Drilled with four holes (one in each horn and two in middle part), from which channels are worn, on one side, to lower edge. Part of surface on under-edge worn smooth and round by friction. Wood very hard. Chord from horn to horn of crescent i if" ; h. in middle 3I", at ends of horns r" ; average thickness s". Pl. XVI.

L.A. 05. Fr. of bronze mirror. On back, plain raised border â" wide, and within, one ripple' and fr. of scroll band between two narrower rayed borders. Centre not preserved. Good condition. Gr. M. 2". Pl. XXIV.

L.A. o6. Fr. of sandstone hone, dark grey ; pointed at end and flattened and worn at sides. I-i" x if". Pl. XXI.

L.A. 07. Pottery spinning-whorl ; circular disc, pierced. Diam. qv", thickness â".

tion of the Lou-lan river in the ` Yu marshes ', and for the identity of these with the ` Marsh of Salt ' or Pu-ch`ang lake of the Shui ching and Former I-Ian Annals ; also below, p. 293.

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