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0287 Innermost Asia : vol.2
Innermost Asia : vol.2 / Page 287 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000187
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Sec. iii]   FROM BUGUR TO KUCHA   799

miles, we arrived at a point known as Chuk-tam, where a small mosque marks the boundary between the Bugur and Kuchâ districts. Some four hundred yards to the north of it lies a ruined enclosure which seems to represent a watch-post of later times. It is built of rough lumps of clay (kisek), and measures, as seen in Pl. 39, about 102 feet by 84 inside. It appears to have been added to an older tower on the south, measuring 20 feet square and built more solidly of bricks measuring I5" x I 2" X 4". That this post was occupied in late times is shown by a small Muhammadan cemetery, situated within 200 yards to the west and provided with an arched gateway. It seems that the place once received water from a small brook which rises at the spring of Pichân-bulak higher up near the head of the glacis (Map No. 17. D. 1). We crossed the tiny tail end of it about a mile and a half farther west at a point known as Süzük.

We halted that night at the small oasis of Yangi-âbâd, where some eighteen homesteads find support in cultivation carried on with the water received from springs rising some five miles higher up, in a little hollow of the Sai. Early on April 13th I started for the long march which was to carry us to the eastern edge of the large oasis of Kuchâ. The first ruin reached across a bare steppe of clay was that of an old watch-tower, K. v, known by the name of Koyuk-tura (Fig. 344). In its present condition it measures 32 feet square at the base, and rises to 29 feet in height including walls, about 4 feet high, which crown the top and enclose a guard's shelter, 13 feet square (see Pl. 39). It looked as if it had been built of stamped clay ; but closer inspection showed that this encased an earlier tower solidly built of bricks of the same size as those found at all the ancient watch-stations from Ying-p`an onwards. The usual reinforcement of heavy posts and beams could also be traced within this masonry, and on the eastern side of the original structure the whitewashed plaster facing was soon disclosed by a little clearing. The earlier tower had measured about 18 feet square, and while it was still intact an outer casing of stamped clay had been added, probably with a view to providing a guard-room on the top. No water could now be found nearer than at Chöl-âbâd, five miles farther on by the road ; but in ancient times the small valleys debouching from the hills on the north, about that marked as Gor-jilga on the map from Lâl Singh's survey, probably carried surface drainage farther down than they do at present. Chöl-âbâd, ` the quarters in the desert ', which now serves as a usual halting-place, is but a small cluster of ` Langars ' for the accommodation of travellers. Its water-supply, less than one cubic foot per second, is received from springs which issue some four miles off at the mouth of a Nullah. But even this scanty water suffices to create a delightful little patch of green in the surrounding barrenness, with some orchards to give refreshing shade for travellers and with green fields of lucerne to sustain their beasts.

When we had proceeded about three miles beyond CM-abaci, a ruin, about six furlongs off the road to the north-west and not previously visited by me, attracted my attention. It proved to be that of a walled enclosure, K. vi, situated on the southern edge of an eroded clay terrace about 30o yards wide and extending for over 700 yards from east to west. Its position less than half a mile from a dry channel descending from the north clearly showed that water had once been brought here from the same springs which now irrigate Chöl-âbâd. I found here an inner rectangular enclosure measuring 57 yards by 48, built into the south-eastern portion of an outer one, as seen in Pl. 39, both correctly orientated. The walls of both enclosures were 4 feet thick and built of bricks, measuring 15" x 72,8" x 32-4", and thus of the same size as we had found in the ruined watch-towers along the Konche-daryâ and as prevails on the Tun-huang Limes. The wall had in most places decayed to a height of 4 or 5 feet, but still stood to about to feet at the south-eastern corner. There a space about 32 feet square, i, had been walled off. Earth and brick debris filled its interior, which, as fragments of charred timber showed, had suffered from a conflagration.


Remains of Chuk-tam.

Ruined tower of Koyuktura.

Cultivation at Chölâbâd.

Ruined circumvalla- tion W. of Chöl-âbâd.