Boo FROM KORLA TO KUCHA [Chap. XXII
To the north of this, low mounds of brick debris and clay indicated the former position of some quarters. A gate about 18 feet wide led into this inner enclosure from the south at a place which corresponds to the middle of the whole southern face. This suggests that the gate was originally placed there to give access to the whole circumvallation, including the outer enclosure. The inference that the latter was the older is supported by the more decayed condition of the outer north and west walls, in spite of their similar construction. In the north-eastern corner a large refuse heap rose to the present height of the outer wall, here about 4 feet, and on clearing this we recovered, besides pieces of fabrics, four fragmentary Chinese documents, among them two of large size. The writing and paper appeared to me to be of Tang times ; but only competent Sinologue examination, the result of which is not yet available, could throw light on their date. The character and position of the ruin point to its having served as a protected halting-place corresponding to the present Chöl-abad.
Ruined Returning to the road, I examined by its side another ruin, K. vii (see plan, Pl. 39), about two
post, K. vii. and a half miles distant from the last one. This consists of a small enclosure measuring 22 feet square inside, and raised on a base or platform of stamped clay 16 feet high. The walls were 4 feet thick and built of bricks 18" x 8" x 3", a size somewhat in excess of that in the previously described ruins along this road. The south face has completely fallen, but elsewhere the walls still stand to a height of about io feet. From traces of a fire-place in the middle of the northern wall it is safe to conclude that the little enclosure was roofed and meant for quarters. Evidently at a time when the south wall had already fallen a cross-wall had been erected of rough lumps of clay to provide shelter within the portion of the structure that remained standing. There was no definite indication of date here, but the ruin was certainly not of recent origin.
Ruined About 800 yards to the west of K. vii and just north of the road rises another and larger walled
enclosure of enclosure, K. v111, known as Tiige-tam. This was certainly meant for a defensible roadside Sarai, Tüge-tam.
as seen from the sketch-plan Pl. 39. Its walls, built of rough blocks of pisé, are 5 feet thick and
enclose an area 94 feet square ; near the north-western and south-eastern corners they still stood to a height of about 13 feet. At the south-eastern and south-western corners small bastions, 12-square, project. Here bricks, 12" x 6" x 3" in size, had been built into the stamped clay, evidently in order to strengthen its cohesion. The gate led through the southern face and was protected by an outer wall of the same construction as the rest, but badly decayed. The plan and rough execution of the little fort pointed to non-Chinese origin. No well or water channel is now to be found near these two ruined posts. But they may well have once received water from the rivulet which some eight miles to the north irrigates the fields of the small village of Ishtala (Map No. 17. c. i) and thence descends for some distance in the valley that debouches above Tüge-tam. Beyond this point the road leads up a low and bare gravel plateau, and from there, as dusk fell, I sighted once again the green fields of Yaka-arik, the easternmost village tract of the great Kucha oasis.
Arrival at My night's halt there was much cheered by the receipt of a mail thoughtfully sent ahead by
Yaka-arik. Sahib `Ali Khan, the Ak-sakal of the small Indian colony at Kuchâ, and an old friend made in 1907. It brought the eagerly awaited news from Sir George Macartney that my convoy of antiques had reached Kashgar in safety and the equally welcome information from the Foreign Department of the Indian Government that the permission applied for on my behalf to travel across the Russian Pamirs to Samarkand and Bukhara, and thus towards north-eastern Persia, had been duly granted at Petrograd.
Welcome at On April 14th an easy march of seventeen miles brought me to the town of Kucha. Most of
Kucha. the road lay along the line where the bare gravel Sai forming the upper portion of the alluvial
fan of the Kucha river touches the detached northern ends of a succession of cultivated belts. The