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0281 Innermost Asia : vol.2
Innermost Asia : vol.2 / Page 281 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000187
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it empties itself some fifteen miles below the town, and which I had passed in January, 1908, on my first visit to Bugur from the side of the Inchike river.

The information I was able to collect during a day's halt at Bugur usefully supplemented the indications furnished by our survey with regard to the extent and importance of the oasis. The district or hsien, of which the head-quarters are placed at Bugur-bazdr, and which the Chinese administration knows by the ancient name of Lun-t`ai 03 4, was stated to include altogether about four thousand households. The district comprises all the settlements on the main road from Charchi to Bugur, Chuk-tam beyond Laisu (Map No. 17. D. 1) marking the boundary towards Kuchâ.. As the small oases to the east already described do not contain much more than a thousand families altogether and no cultivation is carried on elsewhere, it is clear that Bugur itself holds probably well over two-thirds of the whole population. This agrees both with the proportionate extent of the area shown by our survey as under cultivation and with the information I had previously received at the smaller oases. But while reclamation of new land seemed to have made considerable progress in recent years in those smaller oases, Bugur itself appeared to be nearing the limits set by the available irrigation resources. In fact, to the south our routes at several points touched ground where cultivation had been abandoned in recent times owing to the salinity produced by inadequate drainage. The absolute flatness of the land there, as it presented itself to the eye, sufficiently accounted for the latter fact.

The only two ancient sites of which I heard at Bugur still capable of being reached by water from the Kizil-daryd both lie in this direction. An examination of them showed that neither contained remains of pre-Muhammadan times. The ` kône-shahr' of Lapâr, which I myself visited, was found to lie nearly four miles beyond the southern edge of the present cultivated area, which here extends to almost three miles from Bugur-bazar. On the perfectly level ground covered with thin scrub it was easy to recognize abandoned fields ; small tamarisk bushes were growing on them, but had not yet had time to form the usual cones. Farther on the soil along the dry canal that we followed was increasingly covered with shôr. The ` old town ' here consisted of a circumvallation, roughly 300 yards square, with earth ramparts irregularly aligned and for the most part so much decayed that a height of only 10 to 12 feet remained. On the western face, which had suffered least and where the top still rose to about 18 feet, it was possible to make out that rough lumps of clay had been used in constructing the rampart, with thin layers of brushwood at intervals of about 3 feet. On the top, 22 feet wide here, there were remains of a parapet built in the same rough fashion and about 3 feet thick. The irregularity of the plan and the careless construction suggested that the circumvallation dated from Muhammadan times. No structural remains were traceable within, only refuse heaps of considerable extent pointing to prolonged occupation ; but so far as I could get them searched they were found to contain only much-decayed stable refuse, animal bones and the like. That this ` kône-shahr ' could not be of altogether late date was suggested by the many places where ` treasure-seekers ' had burrowed indiscriminately into ramparts and rubbish-heaps.

Afrdz-gul, whom I sent from Bugur to proceed to Kuchâ, by a desert track leading past a dry branch of the Inchike-daryd, found a ruined circumvallation of exactly the same type at a distance of about i i miles from Bugur-bazar (Map No. 21. A. 1). It is known as Koyuk-shahr, and its ramparts, also much decayed, measure approximately 26o by 240 yards outside. On a natural terrace within he found an abundance of human bones, suggesting a Muhammadan burial-place. About three miles farther south he noticed abandoned cultivation at a place known as Kara-kachin and not far from a channel carrying water from springs below Bugur. That this channel is not likely to have been made very long ago may safely be inferred from the fact that Afraz-gul found

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