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0211 Archaeological Reconnaissances in North-Western India and South-Eastern Īrān : vol.1
Archaeological Reconnaissances in North-Western India and South-Eastern Īrān : vol.1 / Page 211 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000189
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Sec. iii]   THE BASIN OF JiRUFT   151

pitched within easy reach of the extensive old site, noticed by previous travellers, the survey of which was to close our season's work in the field.

Following from Hûkird the steep bank of an ancient riverine terrace northward for a mile the south-eastern extremity of a great debris area is reached. The site is locally known as Shahr-i-Dâgianûs, by the name which Muhammadan legend connected with the story of the Seven Sleepers ascribes to many a ruined site of Asia.3 It stretches, as the sketch plan ( Plan 16) shows, for fully 2i miles to the north-west along the edge of the terrace overlooking the flood-bed of the Halil Rûd. Its greatest width from east to west is close on a mile. Near the south-eastern end of the site and adjoining the precipitous bank of the terrace I was able to trace the remains of a roughly quadrangular circumvallation, marked by much decayed ramparts, and of a wide fosse running outside three of the sides. Judging from the masses of small burnt bricks overlying the ramparts, solid brick walls must have formed part of the defences. This circumvallation, measuring about 470 by 400 yards, obviously represents a citadel, or arq, within the town.

Broken pottery and fragments of burnt bricks, together with rough stones evidently from decayed structures, thickly cover the ground within a radius of about half a mile from the outside of the fort, except on the side towards the river, where the narrow belt below the terrace bank is occupied by the fields and walled date plantation of Kehru hamlet. A portion of the debris-covered ground has been brought under cultivation by the people of Behkird, whose huts occupy mounds rising above the general level of the debris area at a distance of about 1,000 yards from the fort. Beyond this the cover of debris becomes gradually thinner; but pottery is found for .a mile farther to the north-west, right up to another portion of the village of Behkird. Above this, by the bank of the river, rises a low ridge of gravel bearing the conspicuous ziärat of Shu`aib.

It is clear that the site is that of a considerable town, and from the abundance of decorated glazed pottery and relief-ornamented ware it can be concluded with certainty that it was occupied right down to the period of Mongol domination. Judging from the relative thickness of debris it appeared to me very probable that the area extending for half a mile or so to the north and west of the fort had been the most populous portion of the town. The rest of the pottery-strewn ground is likely to have been occupied by suburbs and isolated residences, such as are still to be found nowadays around most cities of Persia and India.

3 Cf., e.g., the designation of Shahr-i-Dâgianùs given to the ruined town of Kheicho, near Karakhbja in the Turfän basin, Innermost Asia, ii. p. 588.

Tomaschek, Zur historischen Topographie von

Persien (Vienna Academy Proc., 1883), p. 38 sq., identifies the site with the Areiotis of the Tabula Peutingeriana and seeks another explanation of the modern designation.