Sec. iii] WATCH-STATIONS ALONG THE ANCIENT ROAD TO KORLA 775
Ibrahim knew of no ruin to the south-east of Sai-cheke nearer than Y. iv, but guided us about Ruined
three and three-quarters of a mile farther on to the ` tura of Gherilghan ', as he called it. This post, Y. vt.
badly decayed tower, Y. vi, situated amidst close-set and fairly high tamarisk-cones, might otherwise have easily escaped us. It appeared to have been constructed in much the same fashion as Y. III—iv ; but as its slopes were heavily covered with soft earth, apparently owing to the presence of more moisture, and its foot partly overgrown with tamarisks, close examination was difficult. Both bricks and stamped clay, it seemed, had been used between layers of reeds, Toghrak rafters and posts serving for a framework. The present height was about 22 feet, and the top, between the exposed ends of rafters, measured about 20 feet across. The dimensions of the base could not be made out with any certainty. Plentiful refuse of straw and chips of wood lay on the southwestern slope, and from this were recovered the string sandal Y. vi. o1, and the miscellaneous fragments of silk and woollen fabrics shown in the List below. The position of the refuse showed that the top of the tower had been occupied at one time by watchmen.
Beyond Y. vi no ruined tower was known to Ibrahim nearer than that of Sanje, fully fifteen Lagoon of
miles away (Map No. 25. A. 2), a distance obviously too great for signalling operations. It has Gherilghan
accordingly since occurred to me, as the ancient route we were following was drawing near to the foot-hills of the Kuruk-tâgh, that some low ridge jutting out from them towards Gherilghan-köl, somewhere in the vicinity of the triangulated point shown with the height 3,205 in the Map No. 25. B. 2,10 may possibly have been utilized for a connecting watch-station. Such a position falling close to the straight line between Y. vi and Y. vii might well by its height have saved the necessity of building a conspicuous tower for the post. Indeed, the ground that we traversed beyond Y. vi, first along the edge of the Sai and then across an area of bare salt-permeated clay towards the river, is so open that no ruin of any size could have escaped the eyes of hunters and others who pass here. The jungle belt near the small lagoon, communicating with the river and known as Gherilghan-köl, is frequented as a grazing ground, and before we reached camp here the track had become quite well marked. It is used by carts which bring timber from the groves of elms to be found higher up in the Kuruk-tâgh valleys that debouch here towards the Konche-daryâ.
On March 26th we set out early from Gherilghan-köl in the hope of reaching the district Watch-
head-quarters at Kara-kum after visiting the two ruined towers known as Sanje and Yâr-karaul tower of
on the direct route to Korla. We had already sighted the first of these from a high tamarisk-cone Y. viz.
near our camp, though it took us a march of over eight miles to reach it. Most of this lay over a plain of bare clay, which wind-erosion was carving into small rudimentary Yârdangs, all running from north to south. It looked like ground well capable of cultivation if water were brought to it by canals from higher up the Konche-daryâ. The tower of Sanje (Fig. 350), built of solid brick masonry on a projecting terrace of the gravel Sai, presented a striking appearance. Its eastern, southern, and western faces had suffered much decay, partly because the foot of the terrace had been eroded by a flood-bed which passes close below it. But the masonry on the northern face and on a small adjoining portion of the western one still rose almost vertically to a height of 25 feet. Careful examination here disclosed that an inner core of masonry, representing the original tower, about 35 feet square at its base, had subsequently received an addition of brickwork which, as seen in the sketch-plan (Pl. 38), enlarged its dimensions to S7 feet at the base, if not more. At the northeastern corner of the original tower the plaster covering the face now hidden behind the additional masonry could still be traced by a little scraping of the latter. The bricks used throughout, both in the original and the enlarged tower, were of exactly the same size, 15" x 7-8" x 3", as those found in all the towers of the ancient route. Above each four courses of bricks a layer of reeds was inserted.
10 Rede 3,492 feet ; cf. Memoir on Maps, p. 144.