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0042 Explorations in Turkestan 1903 : vol.1
Explorations in Turkestan 1903 : vol.1 / Page 42 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000177
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Since Turkestan is under the control of the Minister of War and much of its frontier is closed to travelers, it is necessary to have the permission and good will of the government in order to pursue investigations. To inaugurate any extensive plan of archeological excavations will require tactful negotiation at St Petersburg. I have good reasons for believing that the desired concessions can be had on a basis of division of objects found, and with a sufficient time allowance for the study of all the material. Such a plan should include both town sites and large and small tumuli. Of town sites I would recommend the following, as points to begin on,

in the order stated.:

Town sites.—Afrosiab (Samarkand), Ghiaur Kala (Old Merv), Paikent (west of

Bokhara), Aksi (on the Syr Darya) ; the high ruins seen several miles to the north of Ghiaur Kala; a very high one seen from the railroad a few miles west of the Amu Darya.

Tumuli.—Both the tumulus mentioned at Anau, near Askhabad, and another a short distance from it ; others west of Askhabad, north of Old Merv, and near Jizak ; also many mounds of small size which seem to have a different significance.

As bearing on the age of the tumuli, it is important that the relation of the base of the mound to the surrounding earth be studied to determine by how much, if any, the level of the plain has been built up since the first occupation of the site, and to see also by how much the mound has shrunken in size at its base, as it certainly has in horizontal section at the top. In connection with the question of age of the tumuli and in relation to the last expansion of the Aralo-Caspian seas, it would be very desirable to determine the lower altitude limit of distribution. I did not see any below 250 feet above the Caspian.

Similar observations are needed on the west coast of the Caspian, where De Morgan found no antiquities on the lowlands in the Lenkoran country, but at a higher level abundant tombs of the bronze period and of the transition to iron.

As further connected with the relation of human occupation to the formerly expanded water area, there is needed a determination of the altitudes of the Manytsch divide between the Caspian and the Black Sea, and of that between the Aral and the Arctic Ocean. Both of these are now not far from railroad bases.

As regards further work in physical geography, Professor Davis writes :

" The order in which I should like to see the * * * studies taken up on

the plains, in order to define most rapidly the conditions of early human history, is as follows :

"The shorelines of the Caspian and Aral seas ; first on the southwest, south, and southeast, then on the northeast and the associated plains.

"The double belt of piedmont plains and bordering ranges with special work in certain glaciated valleys.

" The deposits of loess from Samarkand to Tashkent. "The Issik Kul basin, by a special, independent party. "Secondarily, Block mountains and the Narin formation."