414 FROM SU-CHOU TO THE LIMES OF MAO-MEI [Chap. XII
huang marches from the Tien-shan grazing grounds above Kara-shahr. His discovery of a relation here more than seven hundred miles away in a straight line from their former common haunts illustrates the huge distances over which Mongols are prepared to move in search of grazing or for other purposes. I was eager later on to secure the guidance of this much-travelled Mongol for the autumn's journey across the Pei-shan, but unfortunately did not succeed.
A farther march of two miles by the caravan track across the bare gravel Sai brought us to the last watch-tower that we were to meet along the left bank of the Etsin-gol above the river's delta. This tower, T. XLVIII. f, stood on a low ridge commanding a distant view of the riverine plain and of the utterly bare glacis that stretches down towards it both from the Pei-shan hills to the northwest and from the desert plateaus to the east and south-east. The tower was of exactly the same shape and size as T. XLVIII. b, measuring originally 20 feet square at the base and tapering somewhat towards the top, which was about 22 feet above the ground. But it was built of solid bricks, measuring 14" x 8" x 5", just like the other ancient watch-tower, T. XLVIII. a, on the extreme northern stretch of the Mao-mei Limes. A thin revetment of stamped clay which had been added later, apparently with a view to enlarging the space on the top, had for the most part fallen off again.
The forts of Ta-wan were fully visible from this tower T. XLVIII. f, which, as its construction proves, belonged to the Mao-mei Limes. There can therefore be little doubt that it served as an advanced look-out post for that Limes, like the towers T. I and T. II which we found guarding the Lop desert route where it approaches the western extremity of the Tun-huang Limes.4 Neither refuse nor pottery debris was found near it. It deserves to be noted that on the opposite side of the river, and at a distance of about three miles from the tower T. XLVIII. f, there stands facing it the small but very massive fort known as Ulan-dürüljin, which in view of its similarity to T. XLVIII. c in point of size and construction may also belong to Han times.'
The remainder of that day's march took us across a wide and bare plain of gravel to the halting-place of Ulan-else, a narrow patch of vegetation and wild poplars by the left bank of the winding river. No structural remains of any kind were seen on these sixteen miles, though the ground was perfectly open and the atmosphere quite clear, a storm on the preceding evening having brought some light rain. We had entered ground which, though on an old line of traffic towards the heart of Mongolia, could never have seen settled Chinese life. And here the chapters dealing with our search for the ancient border line by which that life was to be protected may appropriately be brought to a close.
SECTION III.—LIST OF ANTIQUES FROM RUINS OF HAN LIMES OBJECTS FOUND OR EXCAVATED IN DIFFERENT LOCALITIES ALONG LIMES
T. oi. Lug of wooden bowl, similar to T. XI.III. k. 026, but slightly smaller. Similar ornament, with addition inside rim of two thin black lines, with yellow line below, and between black lines groups of transverse lines, dots, &c., as ornament. 4f" x 1f". Pl. XLVII,
4 Cf. Serindia, ii. pp. 638 sq. It seems likely that the tower shown in Map No. 42. D. 3 on the gravel glacis above our Camp 140, and about two miles distant, served as a link between the watch-post thrown out at T. XLVIII. f and the watch-tower T. xLVIIi. b on the line of the Limes itself. I now regret that time did not allow me to visit it. The direct distance between the two is about seven miles, not too great
T. 02. Iron centre bit, with three-pointed end and thickened shank. Used for making circle and dot ornament frequent on bone, ivory and wooden objects of Asiatic, Roman, Greek, &c., origin. Diam. of circle made by tool
full ; 5;" x A" at broadest part. Pl. XLII,
for fire signals.
Regarding the line of watch-towers, probably also advanced watch-posts, to be found on the gravel Sai overlooking the riverine flat from the east, above and below Taralingindürüljin, see below, p. 507.
5 See the sketch-plan, Pl. i6; cf. below, p. 507.