Sec. v] ALONG THE WESTERNMOST KUN-LUN 91
below.26 More of this ` Tati ' had been reclaimed for cultivation when the new colony was established, and this process was still going on at the time of my visit. As there seemed to be sufficient water for further irrigation, it can only be a question of time before the rest of the old village site disappears again under fields and the deposits of loess dust which steadily accumulate over all cultivated areas of this region. The absence of datable remains such as coins makes it impossible to fix chronologically the abandonment of the site. But, judging from the character of the pottery and the height of the wind-eroded loess-banks or ` witnesses ', 8 feet to 10 feet, it must go back to pre-Muhammadan times.
Beyond this ` Tati' the road leads over a barren ` Sai' of gravel, overlooking the broadening bed of the stream and sloping away glacis-like towards the oasis of Zanguya. The ruined mound, visible from afar on this absolutely bare ground, rises at a point about six miles below Puski ` Langar ' and half a mile from the left bank of the stream. The track to Zanguya still actually passes by it. The structure of sun-dried bricks, resting on a square base and originally, no doubt, surmounted by a dome, proved greatly injured by diggings for ` treasure '. Its extant height from where the clay brickwork rests on the gravel ` Sai ' was only 13 feet. Galleries had been run into the mound from three sides, and a shallow cavity had been dug out on its top. On the badly broken surface no definite indications survived of the arrangement of the base and the dome ; but the lowest base appeared to have measured about 34 feet square, and the superstructure may well have resembled that of the Stûpa of Topa-tim which I discovered in 1900 between Gama and Moji,26 though the base was manifestly much lower. The bricks, made of clay with a plentiful admixture of straw and chaff, measured on the average 17 inches by 14 inches, with a thickness of 3-4 inches.
At a height of 4 feet from the ground the north and west sides showed a level row of tamarisk and willow sticks set close together, and once probably supporting a projecting cornice in plaster. The sticks were about one foot long and very firmly embedded.27 Examining the foot of the mound, I convinced myself that the foundation rested on soil exactly the same as that displayed by the surface of the surrounding Sai and on the identical ground level. This proves that this gravel glacis is not perceptibly affected by wind erosion, an observation which is in exact agreement with the results of my subsequent examination of the desert ground near most of the ancient Limes west and north of Tun-huang.28 It was curious to find the brick débris of the lower slopes covered on its surface with small pebbles, evidently driven on to the mound by the force of the winds which sweep across this glacis with great force from the side of the desert during the spring and summer. Perhaps it is to this powerful corroding agent that we must ascribe the state of far greater decay which this
Puski ool. Fr. of dark red pottery orn. with appliqué band of clay deeply punched at short intervals ; above and below this is wave pattern irregularly scribbled. 4" x 3a".
Puski 002. Fr. of pottery, very hard-fired, dark red, with band of lightly incised wave pattern. 2 "x 2k". Puski oog. Fr. of pottery, as Puski. 002, but thinner.
Puski 004. Fr. of hard-fired red ware, lip of vessel; rim projects slightly, sloping sharply downwards. 3*" x
15 " r .
Puski 005. Fr. of pottery, hard-fired, dark red with smooth outer surface. 21" x r e".
Puski oo6. Fr. of dark red pottery, with very thin friable sand-coloured slip; clay hard-fired and gritty. 2Tg" x I ".
Puski 007. Fr. of pottery, hard-fired, gritty, dark red ; orn. with rough incised pattern on outer face. 2" x I ".
Puski 008. Fr. of pottery ; neck and rim of vessel ; rim runs sharply down from lip and in very slightly undercut. gig"x Ig".
Puski oog. Fr. of dark red ware, very hard-fired ; has smooth reddish-brown slip over outer face. 211g" x 2 26M.
Puski ooro. Split piece of willow from plaster support ; bark extant on outer surface; one end new cut. 6"xr"xi".
Puski oon. Split stick of tamarisk; bark partly extant. 5w)< I"x ".
26 Cf. Ancient Khotan, i. pp. 104 sq. ; ii. Pl. XIX.
n For specimens, see list in note as.
R8 See below.