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0506 Innermost Asia : vol.1
Innermost Asia : vol.1 / Page 506 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000187
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Walled-up hillock

T. xt.III. h.

Move to
tzil oasis.

Work effected from Huahai-tzïù.

Finds among refuse at T. xI.III. h.


bearing on its top the remains of a brick-built tower, T. XLIII. g, exposed to a height of about 5 feet. Cinders and reddened clay around it suggested that fire had been applied to some structure that once adjoined it. At some later period a herdsmen's shelter had been built into the east side of the mound, with rough walls of tamarisk branches and brushwood easily distinguished from the rest. Refuse layers were found on the west and south slopes of the mound, and the examination of them yielded four Chinese inscribed wooden slips, besides a number of miscellaneous small objects described in the List. Among these may be specially mentioned a bronze arrow-head, T. XLIII. g. 015, of the same type as is common at Lou-lan sites and along the Tun-huang Limes ; another arrow-head, 014 (Pl. XLVII), with barbs and hollow sides, resembling Lal S. 015 (Pl. XXIII); the fragment of a bronze mirror, 04. A broken Wu-chu coin was also picked up here.

We had given up hope of tracing the line farther to the east amidst the close-set tamarisk-cones, when our sharp-eyed Mongol, having reconnoitred ahead, led us through them to a small gravel-covered hillock, T. XLIII. h, about 3o feet high. On its eastern slope, about half-way up, we found the foundations of a wall 5 feet thick, running for about 5o feet. It was solidly constructed of tight fascines of brushwood, laid crosswise in alternate strata and secured by stout branches passing through them vertically. The diameter of the natural hillock, which by means of this wall or scarp appears to have been turned into a kind of tower, was approximately 5o feet.6 The top seemed to have been transformed into a look-out platform by the same means ; but apart from a fragmentary coin, apparently an issue of Wang Mang, nothing was found here. Refuse, however, was soon traced under a thin cover of gravel below the wall on the east, and here a first rapid search brought to light four Chinese documents on wood, including a well-preserved tablet inscribed in double columns on both sides.

There was no time that day to clear the refuse deposits at this spot, nor to trace the line of the wall, which fortunately soon emerged again on open gravelly ground, farther than to the tower T. XLIII. j. We were then obliged to turn to the south in order to reach before nightfall the oasis of Hua-hai-tzû or Ying-ptan, to which our camp had been sent ahead. As we made our way to it, across a zone of soft loess soil dotted with numerous tamarisk-cones, we passed the small outlying colony of Shuang-ch`üan-tzti irrigated from springs. Before, however, recording such observations concerning the main oasis as a brief stay permitted me to make, it will be convenient to complete the account of our exploration of the line of the Limes to the north of it.

The two days, April 26th and 27th, were used to full advantage, our camp meanwhile remaining within the cultivated area. The resources of the petty Chinese official established in the small walled town or p`u-tzic which forms the centre of the oasis and is known by the significant designa-

tion of Ying p`an, ` the military encampment '   0, were limited ; but they sufficed to provide
me with a small contingent of labourers. Mounted on big hardy donkeys, such as fortunately abound at all the oases of this region, they were taken out to the line of the Limes and helped us to clear the remains with thoroughness. At the same time Lal Singh was enabled to extend survey reconnaissances into the desert both to the north-east and south.

The excavation of the refuse layers at T. XLIII. h was rewarded by the discovery of sixteen more Chinese records on wood and by a number of miscellaneous finds, including wooden implements and coarse fabrics, as described in the List. [Two of these documents, T. XLIII. h. 020, 024, bear dates corresponding to the years 39 B. c. and A. D. 13, respectively. T. XLIII. 016 quotes a law concerning military employment. T. XLIII. 018 mentions the localities of Shou-hsiang 51► J and Wan-nien X%, both of which are named in previously found documents from the

6 For a watch-station on a hillock similarly walled up   Konche-daryâ, see below, Chap. xxt. sec. iii.

with fascines, on the. ancient Han route leading along the   .