68 OLD SITES IN THE SALT RANGE AND SHAHPUR DISTRICT [Chap. II
find place, which is now about 70 yards to the west of the steeply eroded bank of the flood bed, showed that the foundation of the structure lies 15 feet below the top of this bank. As the structure was described to me as having stood to a height of about 10 feet, its top may be assumed to have been buried under 5 feet of alluvium.
The observation is of some interest as it affords an indication of the approximate rise of the ground-level which has taken place since Buddhist times in this riverine belt liable to inundation from the Indus. Stucco sculptures, undoubtedly Buddhist and of the Gandhâra style, had previously been brought to light in the vicinity of Rôkhri by a flood of 1868.' These are now in the Lahore Museum. But the exact spot of this former discovery could not be indicated to me. Close search made along the present bank of the river branch showed only stratified alluvial deposits without any potsherds or other old remains, apart from some much damaged brick walls lining a well, apparently of no great age.
Close to the western edge of the village there extends a large debris area which in recent years had been extensively dug up for shôra, or saltpetre, and manuring earth. It measures about 440 yards along the bank of the river branch and about 260 yards across where widest. The bank below, about 8-10 feet high, is everywhere clear of potsherds. This shows that occupation of this ground did not start until at least this amount of alluvium had been deposited above the level of the ruined structure just described. The coarseness of such painted pottery and rare relief-decorated ware as could be found on the mound points to its late occupation, probably in Muhammadan times. It deserves to be noted that the width of the belt to the west of Mianwali liable to inundation from the Indus is fully 10 miles. This suggests that the position of localities occupied within or near this fertile kachhi area must have been liable to considerable changes during historical times.
On our return to Miânwâli that evening I found a telegram awaiting me from the Indian Foreign Department informing me that the Persian Government were now prepared to make arrangements for the escort, &c., to meet us on our entry into their territory. I had decided long before that this would have to take place from the port of Gwâdur near the south-western extremity of British Makrân ( Map, Sheet I ) . The earliest available steamer of the British India Company, whose mail boats touch that small port only once a fortnight, was to leave Karachi on January 3rd. The interval would just suffice for the manifold preparations which the sudden change of programme demanded. The incidence of the Christmas and New Year holidays, strictly observed by Banks and Public Offices in India, was bound to add to the difficulty of completing our
1 See Gazetteer of the Mianwali District (Lahore, 1916), p. 23.