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0475 Innermost Asia : vol.2
Innermost Asia : vol.2 / Page 475 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000187
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and purpose. It measures about 5o feet by 35 at its foot. The sun-dried bricks are of the large size of 22-24" x 12" x 4". At a distance of from 5o to 7o feet from its foot the remains can be traced of a massive enclosure of roughly oval shape, about io to II feet thick and built of bricks about 20" x 12" x 3" in size. I t has been almost effaced to the NW. and W., apparently through wind-erosion, but on the south it still stands to a height of over 13 feet.

The size of the bricks alone would suffice to prove that the attribution of great age to this ruin, as indicated by its popular designation, is justified. But what invests it with special interest is the

evidence afforded by potsherds lying on the bare wind-eroded surface of the slopes that the mound

was already occupied in prehistoric times. As shown by the specimens described in the List of section iii below, there were found among these pottery fragments numerous pieces of painted

` chalcolithic' ware (see Akh. 09, II-13, 15-18), which, in view of abundant finds of the same kind on wind-eroded mounds farther south, must be ascribed to a period long antecedent to the earliest historical times in Sistân. The fragments of stone vessels (Akh. 01-2, 19, 23) are characteristic associates of the same ceramic ware.

There is every reason to assume that this conspicuous mound, rising well above the level of possible inundation from the Hâmùn and affording a distant view across the whole basin, was

also occupied during historical times at a far earlier period than the ruins at and around Hauzdâr.

To these times we may confidently ascribe the numerous fragments also found there of superior pottery, plain, decorated, or glazed, closely resembling those common at Ghagha-shahr and

Shahristân, of which Akh. 03-7, 10, 14 (Pl. CXV) are specimens. Regularly ` ribbed ' pieces,

like Akh. o8, were also seen in plenty. The present elevation of the natural mound above the absolutely flat ground outside is about 12 feet. The difference between this and the height of 20

to 25 feet, which the mounds covered with prehistoric pottery debris at Shahr-i-Sôkhta and in the desert to the south usually attain, is easily accounted for by the fact that the ground around Hauzdâr, having been irrigated for prolonged periods, must have been considerably raised through the accumulation of silt, due to the heavy mud carried by the Helmand at flood time.

About I miles farther to the south-west a curious enclosure is found, known as Pai-kash-iRustam and believed, as the name shows, to mark the footprint left by Rustam's famous horse

Rakhsh. It consists, as seen in the sketch-plan, Pl. 57, of an irregularly shaped interior, about

loo yards across where widest, surrounded by a rampart, rising about 20 feet above the flat ground. This rampart varies from 4o to 8o feet in thickness and consists, as close inspection of the steep

slope towards the interior showed, of the hard natural clay which underlies the gravel surface of

the Dasht and is known locally as sir or kim. The interior space is quite bare and its floor covered with shôr. This is easily accounted for by the fact that in years of ample flood in the Helmand

inundation from the Hâmûn reaches the outer foot of the rampart, as shown by the deposit of broken

reeds left there. The only explanation of this strange enclosure that occurred to me is that an isolated clay terrace, such as are found in many places near the edges of the Dasht plateau, was by

excavation of the interior converted into a natural circumvallation intended to offer shelter. But I realize that the width of the gap to the NE., fully 7o feet across, which seems to have served as entrance, is in this case difficult to account for. Could the enclosure possibly have been intended for use as a kind of corral or Dakhma ?

The question thus raised was not solved by the small massively built rotunda found at a distance of only 6 yards or so from the foot of the rampart on the NE. (Fig. 491). Its wall, 6 feet

thick, is built of strong bricks measuring 17-18" x 8-9" x 21". Its interior, 141 feet in diameter, was once surmounted by a dome springing from a plinth at a height of about II feet above the present ground level outside. What remains of it shows that the vaulting was of the ` horizontal '

Prehistoric occupation of mound.

Early pottery remains.

Enclosure of Pai-kash-iRustam.

Ruined rotunda outside enclosure.