4 ALEXANDER'S CAMPAIGN IN THE PANJAB [Chap. I
impressed me more than the contrast between the elevated terraces on the right bank rising everywhere steeply over the flood bed, and the level flat of the low ground stretching away eastwards beyond it, unbroken as far as the eye with the aid of strong glasses could carry. The steepness of the cliffs bounding both the cultivated land and the ground occupied by the riverine villages to the west showed unmistakably how the current set against them at flood time. Similarly it was easy to see that this process of erosion was being materially aided by the constant succession of ravines, large and small, in which the drainage from the plateau-like ground descends to the river cutting through, and breaking up, the bank. The physical forces which account for the configuration of the ground on the right bank of the river could thus be studied with ease mile after mile as we rode along.
From this study on the ground a clear conclusion could be drawn as to the change which those forces at work during many centuries must have brought about in the riverine tract to the east. This conclusion was fully confirmed by reference to the detailed maps, which show an absolutely flat area stretching away as far as the towns of Jullundur and Dasûya and traversed from north to south by the winding bed of the West or Black Beih. A look at the one-inch sheets, as accurate here, no doubt, as I found them all along the ground visited, is sufficient to show that this bed together with the line of marshes accompanying it from about half-way between Jullundur and Dasûya and continuing it northward in the direction of the bend of the Beds, represents an earlier course of the river. The distance between the present course of the Beds and the one marked by the West Beih and those marshes varies from about 7 miles in the south to less than 2 where the bend of the Beds is approached.
Considering the absence of exact historical records and, as far as the maps show, of any remains such as mounds marking earlier riverine settlements, it is impossible to form any definite view as to the length of time since this westward shift of the Beds took place. But the absolute flatness of the intervening ground makes it appear very probable that the move was a gradual one and that the erosion accompanying it would result in the effacement of any artificial mounds, such as Alexander's altars, once standing by the river's old bank. And here it may conveniently be mentioned that an examination of the detailed map ( Sheet No. 43. r'. 12) showing the river's course between its bend and the debouchment from the hills suggests a similar shift having taken place there, in this case from south to north.
While to the east, antiquarian evidence is so far wanting that might permit us to gauge the extent of the river's movements within historical times, conditions have fortunately proved more favourable on the present right bank. Along this