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534 THE ANCIENT BUDDHIST SHRINES OF MIRAN [Chap. XIII
centre. The level of the lowest brick course was only about a foot or two above the present surface of the ground. Another ruined Stûpa mound, M. vii (Fig. 13o), about 34o yards to the north-east, was similarly decayed on the faces, though solidly built of bricks of about the same size. The base appeared to have been about forty-one feet square, but the arrangement and dimensions of the superstructure could no longer be made out. The extant height of the ruin was close on twenty-four feet. Here, too, a tunnel had been dug right to the centre of the Stûpa, as seen in Fig. 13o, which shows the west side. It was again interesting to note that the effect of wind-erosion on the ground adjoining the ruin was surprisingly slight, scarcely amounting even to one foot. It was very different with the scanty remains found to the north, east, and south of this group of ruins, M. 1u-vrr, and after careful examination of the configuration of the ground I was led to conclude that the slight extent to which the soil at the foot of the latter ruins had been lowered by wind-erosion, nowhere more than three or four feet, was probably due to their sheltered position in a shallow depression.
It was significant that the higher portion of the bare gravel-faced plain, both to the north-east and south of this group, was studded at intervals with scattered Yardang-like clay terraces bearing evidence by their conspicuous height to the far-reaching effect of wind-erosion. Badly corraded pottery fragments were plentiful on this ground. But on one only of these eroded terraces to the north-east, about 700 yards from M. III, did a trace of structural remains, M. vitr, still survive. They consisted of a wall running east to west for about eighty feet along the edge of a Yârdang, some 8-io feet high, with another much shorter one adjoining at right angles. The masonry, three feet thick and rising nowhere to more than five or six feet, consisted of sun-dried bricks measuring 18 x Io x 4 inches. To the south a conspicuous clay terrace, M. ix, about 450 yards from M. III, rose with very steep slopes to a height of 15-16 feet, and proved to be occupied by the walls, now no more than about five feet in height, of a small structure measuring six feet square inside. Its clearing yielded no finds, but the bricks were approximately of the same size as at the temples M. III, v, and the structure evidently coeval, whatever its character may have been.
West of it an unmistakable embankment, running its winding course in the general direction from south to north on high ground, clearly marked the line of an ancient canal. Two other slightly divergent lines of the same character could be traced further to the east, as seen in Plate 29. Here I may also mention the small brick mound, M. xi, found on high ground to the west of the first-named canal line and about 500 yards to the west-north-west of M. HI. It rose to a height of about 15 feet, and appeared to have had a base some 17 feet square. In it, too, diggers had been at work. The bricks were large and of two sizes, measuring 2 I" X r4' X 42" and 17' x 13" x 4" respectively. The numerous small ` Yârdang' terraces, stretching away to the east of M. ix and found also to the north of the route where it passes from M. iii-v to the Tibetan fort (see Plate 29), showed .small débris of ancient pottery but, with one exception, no structural remains. Any ruins that may have once occupied the top of these erosion terraces, and caused them to escape the general lowering of the ground level, must have been completely blown away since.
The exception just referred to was formed by a small group of steeply eroded terraces, situated about 34o yards to the south-west of the south-western corner of the Tibetan fort. On one of these, seen in Fig. 132, which was about I I-12 feet high, there rose the conspicuous remnant of a tower-like structure, M. x, quite small but of distinct architectural interest. As seen in Fig. 126, its walls were badly injured outside, and to the south and east had disappeared altogether down to the solid base. But enough had survived of the inside to show that the interior comprised a small room, seven feet square, and a hemispherical dome above it. The structure still rose to about