60 OLD SITES IN THE SALT RANGE AND SHÂHPUR DISTRICT [Chap. II
river and rises to a height of about 25 feet above the alluvial ground. Its top measures about 190 yards from east to west and not much less across. Apart from the abundant debris from mud- and rubble-built dwellings no structural remains are traceable on the surface. Finds of copper coins are frequently made here; among the coins brought by villagers, all badly worn, three were recognizable as Muhammadan, while two thick oblong pieces might possibly be more ancient. Among the pottery fragments picked up, all the painted ones as well as the moulded or ribbed ones looked medieval ( see Bhera. 1, 7, 14, 18, 22; Pl. I) .
Indications of far older occupation are to be found on the top of two of the low sandstone hillocks known as brad (or burâri) which crop out above the alluvial plain in the vicinity. The larger one, rising to a height of about 45 feet, with slopes much eroded, is covered with plentiful potsherds of earlier types. Among them may be mentioned numerous fragments showing such `ribbing' as in Balûchistan and elsewhere I have found frequent in pre-Muhammadan ware (Bur. 3, 13, 14; Pl. I), as well as pieces decorated with moulded or painted patterns ( Bur. 4) . Similar pottery is found also on the smaller hillock crowned by the tomb of Khusro Khan, now visited as a ziârat. The thick walls enclosing this tomb are built with slabs of red sandstone, some of which show relief ornamentation, clearly proving that these materials have been brought here from some Hindu structure.
General Cunningham proposed to locate at `Old Bhéra' or Ahmadabad the palace of Sôpeithes which Arrian mentions as the place on the Hydaspes where Alexander after a three-days' voyage down the river rejoined the forces sent along either river bank under Krateros and Hephaistion.7 From the narrative of Arrian it is clear that Alexander himself started with his fleet from the vicinity of Boukephala and Nikaia, i.e. from Jalalpur or some distance lower down. The distance of approximately 35 miles between Jalalpur and Ahmadabad would fit in with the proposed location, as also with Strabo's reference to the mountain of salt got by quarrying situated in the country of Sôpeithes.$ The fact that Bhéra has preserved the name of a territory which Fa-hsien already knew by that designation points to its marking an ancient place of importance and supports the proposed location.
From Bhéra I proceeded on December 12th to visit a number of old mounds
7 See .nabasis, vi. ii. 2, iv. 1; Cunningham, Archaeol. Survey Report, v. p. 96.
8 Strabo, Geograpbia, xv. xxx, has already called attention to the discrepancy found in the references to Sôpeithes, some writers, like Arrian, placing the country of Sôpeithes on the Hydaspes and others ( such as Curtius and Diodoros) mentioning it to
the east of the Hydraotis or Ravi. A likely explanation is that the classical references are to two different rulers. Regarding the true form of the name, Sôphytes, as attested by the Greek legend of a silver Drachma coined in India, and the Sanskrit Saubbûta of which it is the rendering, see M'Crindle, Invasion of India, p. 411, quoting M. Sylvain Lévi.