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0102 Archaeological Researches in Sinkiang : vol.1
Archaeological Researches in Sinkiang : vol.1 / Page 102 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000195
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of grains have been deposited in the coffins as food supplies for the dead, than that they have been placed there in their character of germinative seeds, i. e. to represent a vitalizing agent for the dead, and thus belong to the complex of the fertility cult.

Iv. Discussion.

Having finished the description of Cemetery 5 ("ÖRDEK'S necropolis") the question arises : where did these people dwell before they were buried on the hill. Because of the size of the cemetery one would expect a priori a village in the neighbourhood, somewhere along The Small River, the only place where water is obtainable. No traces of any structures, however, were found. The sand dunes cover such large areas in this part of the desert, in many places reaching the shores of the river, that not only one but several ancient villages may be totally buried in the sand. It is worth remembering that all the Lou-lan ruins are found in a region without sand-covering.

The dwellings of this autochthon people can hardly have been very solid. If they really possessed any stationary dwellings we have, perhaps, to reckon with something of the same sort as the present day s a t ma or reed-hut of the Lopliq. When these are abandoned they very soon fall to pieces, and are easily hidden by even a thin layer of drift sand.

On the other hand fragments of pottery and other small débris were abundant on many bare clay surfaces between the sand dunes both to the south and the north of "ÖRDEK'S necropolis", as is the case nearly everywhere in the Lop desert to the west of the new Lop-nor — relics which partly indicate a mobile population.

This people lived under conditions very similar to the present day Lopliqs. Some must have carried on agriculture, at least to a limited extent. Most of them, and especially the more wealthy, owned cattle and sheep, camels and horses or asses, and all of them practised fishing in the river and the lakes and hunting in the reeds and on the plains. "They are as birds and wild beasts" the contemporary Chinese characterized the Lou-lan people.

As the present day Lopliqs live on very much the same lines as the autochthons of Lou-lan, a few observations may be of interest in this connection. When visiting SAIT MOLLAH in his s a t ma at Yaqinliq-köl, which, by the way, is one of the largest reed-huts in the region, comprising several rooms, I saw SALT'S wife spinning wool on one of the "charkhs" used in the Tarim Basin. Afterwards Mr. CHEN saw her weaving a kind of rough woollen cloth in white and black, a material which was used for clothing, bags, saddles and the like. This is a coarse material always made locally, which very much resembles the coarse woollen stuff in the mantles from Cemetery 5.