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0469 Serindia : vol.1
Serindia : vol.1 / Page 469 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000183
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Sec. v]   THE RUINED STUPAS OF L.A.   391

beneath the lowest course of brickwork the foundation was clearly recognizable (marked in Fig;98 by the feet of the man standing lower down). It consisted of two layers of tamarisk fasci nes, six inches thick; separated by a layer of stamped clay, three inches thick. The height of the extant masonry at the NE. corner was about nine feet, and about thirteen feet near the centre. As in L.A. x, the Stûpa base appears to have been built in concentric squares corresponding to successive stories, and both near the NW. corner and in the big cutting found near the SE. one clefts between two cores of brickwork were noticed. The bricks used showed slightly varying sizes, the prevailing one being i8" x 12" x 4", as in L.A. II and x.

That treasure-seekers had correctly recognized the character of the ruin and made an endeavour, in a competent fashion, to reach the presumed relic deposit in the centre of the base was proved by a gallery about five feet wide and six feet high which had been cut into the base from the middle of the west face. It ran straight towards the centre, and as it was found on my second visit, when cleared of the heavy sand filling it, to be fully twenty-six feet long, it is likely to have reached the deposit—if there was one. The fact that this gallery contained plentiful remains of birds' nests proves that it must have been dug into the ruin when animal life could still find sustenance in this region.

On the second day of my stay I had taken occasion to inspect the other structural remains which could be sighted in the vicinity of the ruined station (see Plate 22). About half a mile to the north-east, I found a small mound marking the position of a completely decayed structure of hard brick, evidently fired, which erosion had reduced to a pyramidal shape (Fig. 88). It appeared to be the ruin of a Stttpa base measuring at its foot about thirty-five feet on the side facing N.N.W., which could best be traced. The actual height of the top of the mound was about ten feet from the lowest brick course. The bricks laid bare were seventeen inches square with a thickness of three inches. The ground close to the terrace bearing the mound had been scooped out to a depth of sixteen feet, and showed but scanty pottery débris.

Going due north from this mound across ground frightfully scoured with Yârdangs and trenches for about one and three-quarter miles, I reached another badly broken mound on a terrace rising about sixteen feet above the eroded depression close by. The solid mass of sun-dried bricks had completely lost its original outlines through erosion, except on the west, where a face of about thirty-six feet could be measured. Above a lower story or base, about eight feet high, there rose a smaller mass of broken brickwork, about twenty feet wide and seven feet high, occupying the northern portion of the base. Though the surface features had everywhere been completely effaced, yet I thought that I could recognize a resemblance in the original plan to the ruined shrine M. 11 at Mirân, which will be described below.' The upper portion of the mound showed wooden posts embedded in the brickwork, and big beams, which might have belonged to some superstructure, lay scattered at the foot of the mound. The erosive force of the wind had left nothing in the way of loose earth or débris near the mound, and hence no scope for excavation. The sun-dried bricks measured on the average 19" x 1 I" x 3-4". There were also some hard bricks, apparently fired, lying at the foot of the mound ; they showed the size of 12" x 8" x 2". Pottery débris was very scanty near it, and this suggests its being the ruin of a shrine rather than of some inhabited structure. About 110 yards to the NW. big beams, up to twenty feet in length, lay scattered on the top of a bare clay terrace, marking the position of a completely eroded building.

Wind-erosion had done its work of destruction with equal thoroughness at another small group of ruins, close on two miles to the W.N.W. of the last named. Here we found a small and badly decayed mound of sun-dried brick, about eight feet high and fourteen feet long on its south-west

7 See below, chap. zw. sec. i.

Burrowing of treasure-seekers.

Ruined mound NE. of station.

Mound marking ruined shrine (?).

Timber débris on bare ground.