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0381 Innermost Asia : vol.2
Innermost Asia : vol.2 / Page 381 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000187
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situated about i So feet above the river, on which the enceinte wall stretching south-west from the tower and gate of x has already been noted. From where this wall descends to the river the terrace continues westwards above steep cliffs. No remains of fortification were traced here. Yet it can be safely assumed that along this line there once extended a secondary line of wall connecting with the wall which the sketch-plan (Pl. 49) shows at xi running in the same direction. A portion of this is seen in the left-hand bottom corner of Fig. 412. This secondary line of wall would permit the main circumvallation to be defended even if the river section extending from viii to ix were taken or abandoned.

From the corner marked xii the secondary wall turns at right angles to the NW. and ascends steeply over a narrow rocky crest to the citadel. It is very solidly built of bricks i 8" x 14" x 3-1-" and stands for the most part to a height of 8 to io feet. The three round towers guarding this connecting wall section have their entrances from the slope to the south of the citadel. The reason for this arrangement becomes clear when we notice the broken segments of a wall which stretches up from the tower viii by the river to the corner xii. With the help of this traverse wall and the one reaching up to the citadel the walled area between the citadel and the river could be held even after the major part of the circumvallation including the main ridge were lost. It is with the same object that a line of wall with towers facing north was extended from the westernmost point of the citadel to the tower v at the gorge of the ravelin-like outwork of the enceinte.

The walls of the citadel adapted to the contours of the ridge enclose an area on the top about 150 yards long and 4o yards across where widest. On the highest knoll, about 35o feet above the river, rise the walls of a small structure, xiv, comprising a hall measuring 28 feet by 19 and another apartment, 19 feet by 11. They are 3 feet thick and built of carefully set masonry of bricks, 13-14" x I o" x 3-". Another small structure, with much broken walls, occupies a slightly lower knoll at the eastern end of the citadel. By the side of a tower, xv, on the river face of the citadel enclosure a gate passage could be traced. It was mainly within the citadel and on the adjoining slopes to the south that we were able to find some pottery debris. Among this were numerous pieces of a very fine red clay, greatly superior in their technique to the potsherds found at the sites of Zang and Yamchin. No fragments of decorated pottery were seen. From the distribution of these ceramic remains it may be concluded that the citadel was probably occupied at certain periods more or less permanently, while the rest of the circumvallation was intended merely to serve as a temporary place of refuge. The total absence of any ruins of dwellings within the latter is a noteworthy feature. The people of Namadgut did not admit having found any ancient objects within the walls, with the exception of an iron arrow-head subsequently shown to me by Captain Tumanovich at Nut. I t had a peculiar two-pronged point, like the blades of an open pair of scissors.

The observations recorded in the previous section of this chapter with regard to Zamr-i-âtishparast apply with the same, if not with increased, force to the origin and age of Qala-i-Qa`ga. It seems very difficult to believe that fortifications of such extent and solidity could have been constructed by a chief commanding only resources so limited as those of the present tract of Ishkâshm and Zèbak. That they were designed chiefly, if not solely, for the purpose of assuring safety in times of danger for a large number of men is clear. Considering the exceptional advantages offered by the natural strength of the position and the comparatively easy access to it from the side of Badakhshân, the question suggests itself whether it was possibly some ruler of that fertile and once populous territory with which the tracts between the Oxus and the head-waters of the Wardôj were always closely linked in political fortunes, who wished to secure, here in the east, a safe retreat for himself and his host in the case of invasion. There are no definite archaeological indications at present which would permit us to fix the period of construction with any certainty. But it could

Secondary line of wall above river front.

Wall ascending to citadel.

Walls and interior of citadel.

Purpose and period of stronghold.