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0072 Archaeological Researches in Sinkiang : vol.1
Archaeological Researches in Sinkiang : vol.1 / Page 72 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000195
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longer axis lies N 6o° E—S 6o° W, i. e. in the direction of the prevailing hard winds.

The western extremity of the hill is bordered by a slightly curved palisade of thin, not very straight poles, seen in Pl. III b to the left. A little to the east of the crest of the hill runs another palisade or stockade made of thick round posts with the tops all at the same level. The central part is sand-covered. Pl. III a, IV a and VIII a show different aspects of this structure. Close to the base these logs are kept together by horizontal bars fixed to them by means of strong bast ropes.

The small western palisade apparently served as a boundary of the burial place, but the function which the big palisade running across the hill once fulfilled is less evident. Was it meant to separate different groups of graves?

Immediately to the east of the big palisade the free posts stand pretty close together, almost all of them very high, on an average 4.25 m., and of uniform thickness, about 25 cm. in diam. All of them are polyhedric, with 7-13 surfaces, Pl. IV b. When the sand is removed around the base of the posts they are found to be painted red. All the colour of the exposed part of the posts has of course disappeared. Once, however, this "Columned Hall of the Dead" was glowing in bright red colour. The wooden monuments were certainly painted not so much for aesthetic as for magic reasons, red being the colour of blood, i. e. life. Red ochre was used.

The poles to the west of the big palisade are more irregular as to height, thickness and shape, Pl. VII c. A few of them have a diam. of up to 5o cm. The topmost part of most of them is thinner than the lower part, there being a marked step between the two parts, clearly visible in Pl. VII c. A couple of them are pointed or tapering.

An interesting feature is the oar-like monuments, many of which still stand on their original sites, some are completely buried in sand, whereas fifteen have fallen down on the sides of the hill, cf. Pl. IX b in the foreground, and Fig. 1o. There are examples with exaggeratedly large oar-blades, such as Fig. io: 3, and those just referred to in the photographs, and others with more normally proportioned blades, Fig. 10 : 2, 4. Below the blades there is usually an ornamental belt of engraved horizontal lines, once painted red. The type of Fig. i o : 3, for instance, may be compared to some extent with the oars used by the Lopliqs of to-day, whereas such a type as Fig. 1o: 2 is quite different. In any case the occurrence of these oars shows that the people buried here used to row.

The easternmost part of the hill is nearly flat, and has only one upright post. It is the only one standing with ornaments of horizontal grooves, about I cm. wide, cut at regular intervals (cf. Pl. IV a on the left of the photo). Others of a similar kind have probably been placed there, since four or five are lying lower down the


ÖRDEK told me that when he visited the place on the previous occasion, about twenty years ago, there was a kind of hut or house on this flat part of the hill. Its walls and roof were made of planks. The latter had been covered with ox-hides and