Sec. ii] EXCAVATION OF ANCIENT RESIDENCES, N. II, N. in, N. iv. 333
the roof. Those crossing the central part of the hall were 38 ft. long and 9 in. square, made, like the rest of the principal timber pieces in these structures, of the wood of the Terek (Populus alla). The corbel, which was fixed beneath these two central beams, was also a fine piece of wood, 7 ft. 9 in. long, io in. high and 8 in. thick. The post which once carried it had fallen long ago, and could not be identified with certainty, but its large circular base with a socket was found in the original position a little to the north of a raised oblong fireplace occupying the centre of the floor. It is possible that the massive and boldly-moulded pillar-head, 2 ft. 4 in. high, seen on the extreme left of the photograph (Plate VIII), as well as the square piece with carved floral design seen on the right, had formed part of this post. They were both found some 4 ft. above the floor near the east wall.
The walls of the hall were found standing to a height varying from 6 to 8 feet, except near the south-east corner, where a small portion of the south wall was entirely broken. Their relatively massive construction made it all the more difficult to prop them up and to prevent their falling in during excavation. The arrangement of the timber-framework and its plaster covering corresponded closely to that described in N. i, and is illustrated by the photographs (Plate VII), showing the greater portions of the north and south walls. The longitudinal walls were divided by three posts, 6 in. broad and 4 in. thick ; in each of the intervals six round stakes served as supports to the wattle of matting and its plaster covering. Curiously enough, the diagonal tamarisk matting peculiar to most buildings of this site reached here only to a height of 6 ft. from the floor, while above this a horizontal reed-matting was found, just as at Dandan-Uiliq. Two horizontal beams inserted between each pair of posts helped to give strength to wattle and plaster.
As the work of clearing proceeded, the stuccoed walls revealed interesting remains of ornamentation in fresco. This consisted in the first place of a broad horizontal scroll, painted in dark red and black on a plaster ground of creamy white. It began about 3 ft. 8 in. below the original top of the walls, and showed alternately five-petalled flowers and plain double rings, both painted red and of 8 in. diameter. They were joined by a scroll ornament, consisting of two semi-lunes put back to back and having a double cincture in the middle. Both the flowers and the last-named ornament have their exact counterparts in motives of floral decoration common in Gandhara sculpture 3. Above and below the broad band thus formed, traces of which can still be seen in the photographs (Plate VII), there ran bands of black, only 2 in. broad, showing a simple floral pattern in white resembling a fern leaf. From the lower black band hung perpendicular streamers 20 in. long and 2 in. broad, at intervals of z o in. Between each pair a wedge-shaped garland was shown in black outline, finishing below in a pendant formed by a closed lotus in dark-red colour corresponding to the colours of the flowers above. Small irregularities proved that this wall-decoration had been done by hand and without the use of a stencil.
The open fireplace in the centre of the hall already mentioned was formed by a rim of plaster raised 6 in. above the floor and 6 in. broad. A dip on its north side served for the removal of ashes. The remains of embers found within were a memento of life long departed, and so also, but more curious, the large torn piece, 19 by i 52_ in., of an ancient rug which had been thrown into this receptacle. Smaller pieces of this rug had turned up within the fireplace of the adjoining room. The careful coloured reproduction given in Plate LXXV, and the technical
3 For the five-petalled flower comp. Foucher, L'Art du Gandhâra, i. p. 218, figs. 96, 2x 3, &c.
A scroll ornament exactly similar is inserted between