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0507 Innermost Asia : vol.2
Innermost Asia : vol.2 / Page 507 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000187
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refuse heaps. Sistan, with its fairly regular rainfall of about 2 inches per annum, arid enough as

it looks everywhere, does not enjoy a climate quite sufficiently ` desiccated ' to preserve relics of

this kind for the advantage of archaeological research.3

The block of quarters, B, could be traced close to the SE. corner of the post, over an area of Excavation

about I Io feet by 55, the top of the surviving portion of the wall lying flush with the gravel surface in quarters


of the sloping ground. Excavation of the north-western area where this surface was highest R.R. xvii. (Fig. 487) showed that loose sand had accumulated within and had preserved the remnants of walls, about 5 feet high, from being abraded and carried off by the wind until a layer of gravel had formed above and stopped further erosion. Evidently the quarters had been completely emptied by their last occupants on or after abandonment. In room i (Pl. 59) were found two small sitting platforms, and by the side of one a fireplace, with the bottom of a large bowl set in hardened clay. The adjoining room, ii, measuring 27 feet by 14-, also contained a sitting or sleeping platform, built of brickwork, 6' 3" by 2' 8", and two fireplaces. The one placed in a recess of the southern wall, a (Fig. 487), was of interest. It was provided with a pottery jar, about io" wide, set in clay to serve as an oven for baking unleavened bread or ` Chapatis ', after a fashion still known locally and in India. A similar but larger oven in the NE. corner, b, was found broken. The only finds made in clearing these two rooms consisted of fragments of plain coarse pottery, a few small fragments of bronze (R.R. xvii. 017-9), and some sheep bones. The potsherds were of the same illlevigated red or whitish clay which occurred along and within the walls of the enclosures of R.R. xvlI and also among the debris of other ruined posts or outside them.

The large walled enclosures found at R.R. xvii suggest that this point of the defensive line Position

had been used, when occasion arose, as a kind of castrum or sectional head-quarters, just like similar chosen for

a castrum.

enclosures traced far away to the east on the ancient Chinese Limes.4 It is hence of interest to note that just near this point we find at R.R. v a post withdrawn behind the line as if intended for support, the only one traceable in such a position. The distance between the two ruins is 12 miles, a little less than that from R.R. xvii to R.R. iv. Reference to the map will show that the line marked by ruined posts juts out to the west at the latter point. This at first made me think that there had possibly been a link on the direct line between R.R. xvii and R.R. xi', the post nearest to R.R. iv south-eastwards. But close search revealed no ruin in this direction. What reason there may have been for the salient of the line formed by R. R. iv it is not now possible to discover. But it deserves to be mentioned that R.R. iv occupies a position commanding a particularly wide view, extending as far as Kundar and Akhur-i-Rustam to the NW. and the ruined station R.R. x111 to the SE. In general it is certain that optical signalling must have been quite easy all along the line from the present Perso-Afghan border to the edge of the Haman.

Proceeding to the NE. the line of posts is continued by R.R. xvi, a post of similar size and type Ruined

as R.R. iv but badly decayed. The arrangement of three long chambers within, aligned from Posts R.R.

xvi, xvIII.

north to south, could still be made out. The sun-dried bricks laid bare on the top were full of straw and measured 22-24" X I 2" X 4". Fragments of prehistoric pottery, of which there was an abundance on the ground, were also embedded in the brickwork. The fragment of green-glazed ware R.R. xvi. or, found close to the ruin, probably dates from the time of its occupation. Continuing another 12 miles to the NW. we reached the ruined post R.R. xviii, badly decayed and somewhat smaller in size than those just described, but closely corresponding to them in type of construction. The three vaulted chambers of the ground floor, the entrance from the south with two small flanking

3 During my stay at this ruin, Jan. 28-9, 1916, there fell enough rain to fill the flat hollows of ground or nâwars all over the desert plain with shallow sheets of water, as seen in

the distance in the photograph, Fig. 487. This removed all trouble about the supply of water.

4 Cf. for T. Iv. a-c, T. xiv, Serindia, ii. pp. 637 sq., 688 sqq.