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816 KUCHA AND SOME OF ITS ANCIENT SITES [Chap. XXIII
on the ceiling of the passage at the back. Two small caves adjoining to the south had apparently served as monks' quarters.
On the opposite side of the gorge, the top of a very steep hillock is occupied by the badly decayed remains of what appears to have been a large enclosure containing the chief monastic quarters. Owing to the precipitous nature of the slopes, a great portion of the walls once enclosing an area about 5o yards by 40 have slid down. No structural features could be made out in the interior, which was completely overlaid by rubbish-heaps and pottery debris. There were indications of burrowing by ` treasure-seekers ' along the line of the walls and elsewhere, and systematic clearing, which would have taken days, offered small promise of reward. I turned my attention instead to two groups of small caves, iv, facing each other on a steep little spur to the south of this area. The farther one was found to comprise two little shrines communicating by passages. Complete clearing revealed only traces of painted panels, with small seated Buddha figures. The four caves of the other group were undoubtedly used as quarters, a larger one being joined to a smaller one by a passage, as the plan of T.A. iv. i (Pl. 43) shows. On removing the loose earth which filled these cave-dwellings, we found in the one marked a (Pl. 43) two dozen Chinese coins, partly embedded in the flooring. Of these, twenty-one are Tang issues and three are uninscribed, probably of earlier date. Thus the conclusion, already suggested by the style of the wall-paintings, that the site had continued to be occupied during the Tang period received definite confirmation before the end of our visit.
The necessity of making arrangements for Lai Singh's survey work obliged me to start back for Kuchâ on April 28th, in the midst of a violent sand-storm. From Shôr-yailak I dispatched Afrâz-gul to the south-east with orders to survey the ground between Yulduz-b5.gh and Khanakatam, the southernmost settlement of Kuchâ. to the east of the Muz-art river (Map No. 17. c. 2). He reached Khanak-atam, our rendezvous, in three marches ; his observations on the ruins that he passed will be briefly noticed later. I may, however, mention here with advantage what I subsequently ascertained, with his help, with regard to the alleged ` Tatis ' beyond the westernmost limit of the present cultivated area on the west of the Muz-art river.
From Aziz Palwân, our guide to Tonguz-bash and the minor sites described above, I obtained a number of small ancient objects, mostly of metal, but some of glass and stone, which, as a professional antique-hunter, he had picked up on his visits to old sites. They are enumerated, together with those bought from Mir Sharif, in the Descriptive List below. Aziz stated that he had collected most of these small objects from an area of ancient occupation which he called Dawân-kum, and which, from his description, was obviously a wind-eroded ` Tati '. The place was known to others by that name, and was situated some distance beyond the westernmost cultivation of Yulduzbâgh, on the direct desert route to Ak-su. I accordingly arranged, at the close of my stay at Kuchâ,, for Afrâz-gul to pay a special visit to this area when surveying this route as far as Kara-yulghun (Map Nos. 17. A. I, 2 ; 12. B, C, D. 2).
Afrâz-gul's route report shows that when he left Torpak-b5.zâr for this purpose on May loth he had to content himself with a ` guide ' who soon proved to be very imperfectly acquainted with
the track to be followed ; Aziz Palwân had refused to accompany him. At Lampe, some eight miles from Torpak-bâzâr, the last cultivated patches were left behind, and two miles farther on he
reached wind-eroded ground where, for a distance of about three-quarters of a mile, abundant pottery debris indicated ancient occupation. The guide called this place Hajelik, and applied the same name to a similar area about a mile and a half beyond it. A further march of about four miles brought the little party to the tract known to the guide as Dawân-kum. No water was obtainable at that camp ; nevertheless Afrâz-gul spent a day there, making an extensive search for the alleged site, as shown by his devious route line marked on the map (No. 17. A. 2). The ground proved to