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Detailed Report on explorations in Central Asia, Kan-su and Eastern Iran

Sir Aurel Stein
Cosmo Publications
New Delhi - India 1981

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This is a reprint of the original multi-volume report by Sir Aurel Stein published in 1920's. It is in five huge folio sized volumes, two of text, one of extensive maps, one of photos and diagrams, and one of plates showing artifacts collected during the expedition. These contain 505 photos, 137 plates, 59 pages of sketch maps and plans, 51 very large topographic maps, 17 appendices with expert contributors' detailed descriptions of various artifacts and documents. Sir Aurel set out from his base in Kashmir (Srinagar) in July 1913 and returned in early 1916 having traveled for 2 years and 8 months throughout some of the highest mountain ranges and worst desert regions of the world by horse, pony, and camel. And this was Stein's third expedition into Chinese and Russian Central Asia. His other expeditions were described in "Serindia", 1921 -" Memoir on Maps of Chinese Turkistan and Kansu", 1923 , -"Ruins of Desert Cathay", 1912 - reprint 1990 - "Sand Buried Ruins of Khotan", 1903, - "Ancient Khotan", 1907 - and other works. Throughout, he was guided by the memoirs of medieval Chinese pilgrims, Henry Yule's edition of Marco Polo, Sven Hedin's reports on then recent explorations "Central Asia" in 6 volumes and other documents that he copiously cited.

Thanks to the efforts of the Toyobenko - the Silk Road Foundation and Dunhuan project these and many other related works are available on the Internet and can be easily found by the usual Google searches. However the texts and photos and all are scanned as individual pages in PDF documents which makes their study a bit cumbersome. There are also two biographies of Aurel Stein by Susan Whitfield and Annabel Walker.

Therefore the purpose of this web page is to provide a brief summary of Stein's third expedition and to focus on his exploration of the ancient Han Dynasty wall and frontier forts that he described in such detail. This discussion is primairly for those interested in the history of fortifications.The two main fortress towns he explored were Khara-Khota, and Lou-luan on the edge of the Lop nor salt sea. He also visited the now famous "Thousand Buddhas" caves and bought hundreds of precious manuscripts and artifacts. Everywhere along his route he found ancient coins, bits of ceramics, frescos that he removed from walls, silk and other fabrics, and much more. Then, on the return journey he crossed the Russian Pamirs, made excursions south to the edge of the Wakhan corridor where he found many more small forts and towers. Then he traveled to Samarkand and Bukhara and Ashkabad and Mershed. He began explorations again in south eastern Iran - Sistan of ancient Persia - where he found yet more fortifications.

Here is the table of contents by the chapter and section titles:

Volume I

Chapter I - Through Chilas - Darel and Tanjir - pgs 1-35
Section i - From Kashmir to Chilas - p 1
Section ii - Chilas and its Past - p 7
Section iii - On the Way to Daril - p 13
Section iv - Darel Old and New - p 20
Section iv - Through Lower Darel and Tangir - p 30

Chapter II - From Yasin to Kashgar p 36-65
Section i - Yasin in History and Geography - p 36
Section ii - Through Yasin to the Darkot Pass - p 41
Section iii - From the Yarkun Head-waters to the Tagh-dumbash Pamir - p 47
Section iv - In the Valley of Tash-kurghan p 53
Section v - By the Kara-tash River to Kashgar p 58

Chapter III - Kashgar to the Khotan River p p 66-97
Section i - Along the Outermost T'ien-shan p 66
Section ii - Old Remains and Routes beyond Maral-bashi p 74
Section iii - A Hill Range in the Taklamakan p 81
Section iv - Past the Mazar-tagh of Khotan p 90

Chapter IV - Khotan to Lop p 98 - 155
Section i - Antiques from Khotan Sites p 98
Section ii - List of Antiques acquired at Khotan p 101
Section iii - Finds at Sites near Domoko p 127
Section iv - The Niya Site revisited p 140
Section v - List of Antiques from Niya Site p 148

Chapter V - On way to Lop Nor p 156-179
Section i - Charchan amd Vash-shahri p 156
Section ii - The Sites of Koyumal and Bash-Koyumal p 163
Section iii - Resumed Labors at Miran p 169

Chapter VI - Remains of an Ancient Delta p 180-213
Section i - The Ruined Fort of L.K. p 180
Section ii - List of Objects found near or excavated at Fort L.K. p 189
Section iii - The Sites of L.I, and L.M. p 189
Section iv - List of Antiques excavated or found at the Sites L.I, L.M., and L.R. p 198
Section v - Across the Ancient Delta of the Kuruk-darya p 204

Chapter VII - Remains of Ancient Lou-Lan p 214-280
Section i - Work resumed at and around Lou-lan Site p 214
Section ii - Miscelaneous Objects found at or near Lou-lan Site L.A. p 219
Section iii - Relics of an Ancient burial-ground - p 229
Section iv - The Textile Relics of L.C. p 229
Section v - Miscelaneous Sepuchrial Deposits and Descriptive List of Antiques from L.C. p 231
Section vi - The Decorative Designs of the L. C. Fabrics p 235
Section vii - The Ancient Castrumn L. E. and the Remains on Mesa L.F. p 259
Section viii - From the Lou-lan Station to Atmish-bulak p 269

Chapter VIII - Search for Ancient Chinese High Road p 281-312
Section i - To the Easternmost Outpost of Lou-lan p 281
Section ii - The Location of the 'Town of the Dragon' p 290
Section iii - Across the Salt-encrusted Lop Sea-bed p 295
Section iv - The 'White Dragon Mounds' p 304

Chapter IX - The Su-lo-Ho Delta p 313-342
Section i - By the Eastern Coast of the Dried-up Sea p 313
Sectionii - The Valley of Besh-toghrak p 321
Section iii - An Ancient Terminal Basin p 327
Section iv - The Delta of the So-lo Ho p 333
Section v - Transport Problems of the Ancient Lou-lan Route p 337

Chapter X - To Tun-Huang and An-hsi
Section i - The Limes Line North-west of Tun-huang p 342
Section ii - Tun-huang and the "Caves of the Thousand Buddhas' revisited p 354
Section iii - By the Han Limes to An-hsi p 362

Chapter XI - Search of the Limes to Su-chou p 371-403
Section i - The Limes Line North of the Su-lo Ho p 371
Section ii - From Ch'iao-wan-ch'eng to Shih-er-tum p 378
Section iii - Hua-hai-tzu and its Limes Remains p 389
Section iv - The Limes traced East of Hua-hai-tzu p 397

Chapter XII - From Su-chou to the Limes of Mao Mei p 404-428
Section i - The Limes along the Pei-ta-ho p 404
Section ii - Past the Mao-mei Oasis and its Outposts p 409
Section iii - List of Antiques from Ruins of Han Limes p 410

Chapter XIII - The Etsin-gol Delta and the Ruins of Khara-Khoto p 429-506
Section i - The Lower Etsin-gol and its Terminal Basin p 429
Section ii - Khara-khoto and its Remains p 439
Section iii - Remains outside Khara-khoto p 449
Section iv - The Remains of a Rural Settlement and Marco Polos' City of 'Etzina' p 453
Section v - List of Antiques from Khara-khoto and Neighboring Sites p 462

Chapter XIV - Kan-chou and Central Nan-shan Mountains p 507-521
Section i - A Desert Route towrds Kan-chou p 507
Section ii - To Nan-kou-ch'eng and the Eastern Head-waters of the Kan-chou River p 511
Section iii - Return from the Nan-shan to Mao-mei p 518

Chapter XV - Across Pei-shan to Barkul p 522-547
Section i - Through the Desert Ranges of the Pei-shan p 522
Section ii - Across the Easternmost T'ien-shan p 529
Section iii - Past the Karlik-tagh and Barkul p 535
Section iv - Historical Relations between Barkul and Hami - 539

Volume II

Chapter XVI - Guchen and over Tien Shan back to Turfan p 549-565
Section i - From Barkul to Guchen p 549
Section ii - The Site of Pei-t'ing and the Posterior Court of Chu-shih p 554
Section iii - Across the Mountains to Turfan p 560

Chapter XVII - The Turfan Territory: some Aspects of its Geography and History p 566-586
Section i - The Geographical Position of Turfan and the Earliest Historical Notices p 566
Section ii - Turfan from Later Han to T'ang Times p 572
Section iii - Turfan under the Uigurs p 581

Chapter XVIII - At Ruined sites of Turfan p 587-641
Section i - Among the Ruins of Ancient Kao-ch'ang p 587
Section ii - List of Antiquities excavated or acquired at Kara-khoto p 596
Section iii - Search among the Ruins of Toyuk p 609
Secxtion iv - List of Antiques excavated at, or acquired, from Ruins of Toyuk p 620
Section v - Work at the Sites of Murtuk p 633

Chapter XIX - The Ancient Cemeterys at Astana p 642-718
Section i - Seventh-century Tombs in Group i p 642
Section ii - Figurines and other sepulchral Deposits in Groups ii-iv p 650
Section iii - Intact and other Burials in Tombs of Groups vi-x p 660
Section iv - General Observations on the Astana Burials and their Textiles p 667
Section v - Relics of Textile art from the Tombs of Asana p 672
Section vi - List of Antiques from Cemetaries near Astana p 680
Section vii - Conclusion ofWork at Turfan p 720

Chapter XX - Explorations in the Kuruk-tagh p 729-748
Section i - From Turfan to Singer p 729
Section ii - To Po-ch'eng-tzu and Shindi p 725
Section iii - To Ancient Graveyards by the Kuruk-darya p 732
Section iv - Mian Afraz-gul's Supplementary Surveys p 741

Chapter XXI - On Ancient Route along the Konche-darya p 749-785
Section i - The Ruins of Ying-p'an p 749
Section ii - The Ancient Course of the Konche-darya and the 'town of Chu-pin' p 762
Section iii - Watch-stations along the Ancient Road to Korla p 768
Section if - The Territory of Wei-li and the Modern Kara-kum p 777

Chapter XXII - From Korla to Kucha p 786-802
Section i - Along the Foot of the T'ien-shan p 786
Section ii - The Seat of the Protector-General p 790
Section iii - From Bugur to Kucha - 797

Chapter XXIII - Kucha and some of its Ancient Sites p 803-829
Section i - The Oasis in its Geographical Aspects and the Position of its Ancient Capital - 803
Section ii - Ruined Sites West of the Muz-art River p 807
Section iii - Remains South-east of Kucha and List of Antiques found or acquired p 818

Chapter XXIV - From Kucha to Kashgar p 830-841
Section i - Old Remains within the Bai District p 830
Section ii - Past Ak-su and Maral-bashi to Kashgar p 834
Section iii - A T'ang Itinerary from Ak-su to Kashgar p 838

Chapter XXV - Across the Pamirs p 842-862
Section i - Preparations at Kashgar p 842
Section ii - Along the Alai Valley p 844
Section iii - Along the Western Rim of the Pamirs p 851
Section iv - By the Alichur and Great Pamir p 856

Chapter XXVI - In the Region of the Upper Oxus p 863-895
Section i - Old Remains in Wakhan p 863
Section ii - Through Ishkashm and Gharan p 871
Section iii - In the Valleys of Shughnan p 871
Section iv - From Roshna to Darwaz p 884
Section v - Frm Karfa-egin to B okhara p 891

Chapter XXVII - By the Easterrn Marches of Khorasan p 896-905
Section i - From Askhabad to Meshed p 896
Section ii - Past the Perso-Afghan Border p 897
Section iii - Into the Helmand Basin p 892

Chapter XXVIII - The Sacred hill of Sistan p 906-925
Section i - The Historical Interest of Sistan p 906
Section ii - The Remains of Koh-i-Khwaja p 909
Section iii - Remains of Muralo paintings p 913
Section iv -Remains on the Hill-top p 921

Chapter XXIX - Ruined Sites within the Oasis of Persian Sistan p 926-942
Section i - Remains at and near Shahristan p 926
Section ii - The Band-i-Sistan and the Ancient Name of the Helmand p 930
Section iii - The Site of Zahidan and Later Ruins to the North-west p 932
Section iv - List of Pottery Specimens and other Small Objects from Later Sites in Northern Sistan p 938

Chapter XXX - In the Desert Delta of Sistan p 943-981
Section i - Ruins Ancient and Modern p 943
Section ii - Remains of Prehistoric Settlements p 949
Section iii - List of Objects found at Sites of the Southern Helmand Delta p 957
Section iv - Ruins of an Ancient Border Line p 972
Section v - From Sistan to India and London p 979

Appendix A - Chinese Sepuchural Inscriptions from Atsana, Turfan, translated and annotated by Henri Maspero p 983-987
Appendix B - Inventory List of Coins Found or Obtained, prepared from Notes by F. M. G. Lorimer and J. Allan p 988-995
Appendix C - Notes on the Physical Anthropology of the Pamirs and Oxus Basin, by T. A Joyce p 996-1012
Appendix D - Notes on Ceramic Specimens from Chinese Turkestan, Kansu, and Sistan, by R. L. Hobson p 1013-1016
Appendix E - Inventory List of Manuscript Remains mainly in Sanskrit, by F. E. Pargiter p 1017-1025
Appendix F - Inventory List of Manuscript Remains in Sanskrit, Khotanese and Kuchean prepared by Sten Koxow p 1026-1028
Appendix G - Notes on Manuscript Remains in Kuchean, bySylvain Levi p 1029-1030
Appendix H - Notes on Manuscript Remains in Sogdian, by E. Benvenigse p 1031
Appendix I - Chinese Inscriptions and Records, translated and annotated by Lionel Giles p 1032-1046
Appendix K - Inventory List of Manuscript Fragments in Uigur, Mongol, and Sogdian by A. von Le Coq p 1047-1049
Appendix L - A Tibetan Inscription on the Darkot Pass, translated and annotated by A. H. Francke p 1050-1051
Appendix M - Descriptive List of Antiques Brought from Khotan and Presented by H. I. Harding p 1052-1056
Appendix N - Notes on Stone Implements from the Tarim Basin and Sistan, by Reginald Smith p 1057
Appendix O - Specimens of Rock and Sand, examined and described by W. J. Sollan p 1058-1080
Appendix P - Notte on the Fragment of a Manichaean Parchment Manuscript Kao o111, from Kara-khoja by W. Lentz
Appendix Q - Fragment of a Runic Turkish Manuscript Kao 0207 from Kara-khoja , edited and translated by Volhelm Thomsen p 1082-1083
aappendix R - Particulars of the Tibetan Manuscripts Illustrared in Plates CXXX-CXXXIII, by F. W. Thomas p 1084-1090

Here is a brief summary of the contents.


From the above one can see that in July 1913 Stein started from Kashmir going south and then west and then north into the furthermost northwestern region of then hardly pacified Northwest territories of India. In fact he had to get special permision from local feudal warlords to enter their domains. He had already crossed the Karakoram range directly into Turkestan so wanted to see previously unexplored regions north of Chitral to the Afghanistan border along the Wakhan corridor north west of Darel and Tangir. This was the route of medieval Chinese pilgrims seeking the homeland of the Buddha and of Chinese armies whose memoirs and reports he studied. During the first five weeks he crossed 15 passes between 10,000 and 17,000 foot elevation, went 520 miles mostly on foot and had not yet even left India. He viewed the Wakhan corridor from the mountains on its south side, but was not allowed to enter Afghanistan. Throughout this and his entire exploration he had a team of Indian, Sikh, Afridi, Turki and Pathan assistants (excellent surveyors, camp operators, animal handlers and the like) After crossing the Darkot Pass, he continued to stick to the mountains rather than taking the easy route. By September 13 he passed through Tash-Kurghan and reached Kashgar on 21 September. Amazingly enough for one not familiar with this period, in Kashgar he met his old friend, the British Consul General, who was in telegraph communication with London, Peking, St Petersburg and Delhi. On October 9th he departed to travel along the southern foothills of the Tien Shan in hopes of following the Tarim river to the Yarkand and Khotan Rivers, he wanted to explore a short cut through the desert between Maral-bushi and Khotan but the sand dunes defeated him, so he turned south sooner and reached Khotan across the western edge of the Takla Makan desert. On the Khotan river he found the Buddhist shrine fortress at Mazar-Tagh.

The key concept was to explore and survey in the desert during the winter - even with temperatures reaching 47 degrees below zero it was possible, whereas in summer with temperatures over 120 degrees it would be impossible. For water he loaded many camels with large blocks of ice from which pieces could be melted for evening tea. Sometimes fire wood had to be carried also, but most of the time wood from dead trees and bushes was available. Stein's narrative is amazing in the exact detail of his descriptions as he noted soil types, vegetation (almost all dead), terrain including dunes and dried river beds, and artifacts found each day. He is explicit in noting the locations and circumstances for finding each item. Amazingly they found Chinese coins lying on the open desert floor from caravans that must have passed that way in the 8th to 11th centuries or even earlier.

The party included three survey teams, and for one who learned surveying years ago by use of plain table, theodolite and level, the resulting huge topographic maps are astounding. Along the way Stein continues a historical narrative based on his Chinese Buddhist pilgrims (6-7th century). He reached Khotan on 21 November with the temperature already at 34 degrees below freezing. He left Khotan on 30 November, passed Domoko, and stopped at Niya, which he had thoroughly explored during his second journey, departing there on 13 December. He spent December and January in the Lop Sea salt desert. He departed Charchan on 31 December and Charkhlik on January 8, 1914. Among other archeological sites in that section south of the Takla Makan he explored Miran ruin of a Tibetan fort. On 1 Feb. he started north east to Abdal, crossing the Tarim basin frozen river which sometimes floods from spring snows. He cut fresh slabs of ice and packed them in woolen bags to load 19 camels. He found stone age tools lying about. In Febuary he explored the ruined forts he designated L.K - L.L L.E, L.A and then proceeded to nearby Lou Lan Chinese fortress. Then he moved to Altmish-Bulak oasis from 21 to 24 Feb. with temperature 21 degrees below zero. There he reloaded 8 camels with ice blocks, 4 with fuel, 8 with supplies for the journey back to Tun Huang. And he sent surveyor Lal Singh on with 5 camels to survey a different route. His purpose throughout this phase was to find not only the Han frontier fortress wall but also the caravan routes used in 1st century to supply them and connect Tun Huang with the Turfan depression. On 25 Feb., while walking across this empty desert (Lop Sea bed), he found Chinese copper coins and arrow heads lying on the surface where they had fallen well over 1,000 years ago. According to his Chinese records there was extensive trade and military traffic through the Tarim Basin. Stein reached the other edge of the Lop Sea shore on 6 March and followed a caravan route south to Kum Kuduk. Then on March 10th they turned eastward toward Tun- Huang. By 17 March they gained the Chinese limes north west of Tun-Huang and on the 18th the line in front of Oghrak-bulak south of Yumen. They continued to find watch towers during the following 8 days to Tung Huang. He then moved on the Su-lo-ho River to Tun Huang. He found parts of the Han great wall north west of Tun-Huang and east of Anhsi. Then returned to the 'Cave of the Thousand Buddhas" south east of Tun-Huang in April 1914 to purchase more ancient scrolls from the eldery monk, Wang-tao-shih. He had previously purchased a very large cache of these scrolls and paintings during his Second trip as described in Serindia. Stein mentions the 'singing sands' also noted by Marco Polo. He continued to explore the Han wall east of Su-lo-ho to Yumen Hsien and Mao Mei during April. On 28 April he was at Hua, Hai-tgu and on May 1 at Suchou. On 14 May he reached Mao-mei. Then he turned north to follow the bed of the Etsin-gol River toward Mongolia. There in May he found the large ruin of Khara-Khoto fortress city.

With summer coming on he moved south from Khara-Khoto to Kanchou town and then up into the Nan Shan mountains and the Kanchou river where he suffered a serious accident when his horse reared and fell back on him. But in August he was back at Mao Mei ready to cross the Peishan hills north westward to the Tien Shan mountains. He then crossed the eastern extension of the Tien Shan into Dzungaria to Pei-ting city and then back south into the Turfan depression.
Stein explored the Turfan area in winter 1914-1915, finding Buddhist shrines and a huge burial ground at Astana from the T'ang dynasty period. After a quick visit to Urumchi in Feb. 1915, he returned south to explore the eastern part of the desert along the Kuruk-tagh that flowed east to Lou-lan oasis on the north side of the Tarim basin. He explored the hills around Kucha and Singer and then moved rapidly back along the caravan route in the T'ien Shan foothills to Kashgar, which he gained by June. From there he dispatched 182 cases of carefully packed artifacts direct to Kashmir via the Karakoram pass.

Completing this expedition in Chinese Turkestan, in July 1915 he crossed the Russian Pamirs via mountain passes to the south west reaching the headwater streams of the Oxus river. As he noted, surveying and digging was not allowed in Russian territory. He did have excellent assistance throughout from Russian army frontier officers. He followed the Silk Road down the Alai valley, then crossed glaciers and over passes to reach the northen side of the Wakhan corridor valley. His narrative reveals how frustrated he was at being denied entrance into Afghanistan. He visited Gharm, Roshor, Shughnan and many small forts on mountain peaks. Then he moved back north west to return to the main Silk Road and proceeded to visit Samarkand and Bukhara. From there he took the railroad to Mershed on the Persian border. During WWI Persia was the scene of competition between Great Britain and Germany for local influence. Being aided by British local intelligence officers, he again took to horseback to travel south east along the Persian- Afghan border to Sistan, well known in the time of Alexander and the later Sasanian era. He again started survey and found more fortresses along the Helmand river basin - and even Neolithic sites. By February 1916 he was able to cross the Persian border into furthest western India (of course well before the creation of Pakistan).

Of particular interest to fortress fans one delights in Stein's detailed descriptions and maps of the ruined city - Khara-Khoto. Marco Polo named this city Etzina. It is at 101 degrees 25 minutes east Longitude and 41 degrees 44 minutes north Latitude in the dry delta of the Etsin-gol River, which runs northeast. The city is just east of the river and adjacent to the line of the Han dynasty wall through the desert crossing and blocking the lower valley of the Kansu corridor between the high Nan-Shan mountains to the south and the uplands along the Gobi desert on the Mongolian border. The wall was designed to protect the Kansu valley from nomad warriors and the city was a key depot where the caravan routes along the north and south borders of the Takla Makan desert split. The western region was lost with the decline of the Han Dynasty, so the wall deteriorated. Then during the T'ang Dynasty the area again was under Chinese control. But the T'ang did not build walls. Rather, they expanded aggressively and took control of the entire Tarim Basin and even expanded their frontier across the Pamirs until defeated by the Arabs. Then this area was part of the Kingdom of the Hsung-nu and Great Yuch-chu - Uighur Turks and Tanguts before being conquered by Chengis Khan in 1225. The town was occupied by the Hsi-hsia from 1032 to 1227 and then by the Mongols to 1366. Some commentators fault Marco Polo for not mentioning the Chinese Great Wall, but the Han wall in this region was already 1000 years into decay and hardly noticed while the great Ming Wall was not yet built and was not in this area anyway.

Stein found Mongol nomad herders at an oasis nearby and hired a reluctant crew to dig. Besides the main city he found several outlying forts. The inner wall of these measured 20 feet thick and the outer 12 feet thick. They were built of stamped clay. One had inner wall 83 yards square and outer wall 220 yards east to west by 180 yards north to south. Pottery found in it dated from Sung dynasty.Two miles to the east lay Khara-Khoto.

This remains a very impressive fortification with massive walls and bastions. There remains a large Stupa on the big corner bastion and a row of smaller stupas outside. The main wall measures 466 yards north side and 381 yards on west side. It is 50% larger than Lou-lan. The walls are 38 feet thick at base made of stamped clay with wood frames. The walls are 30 feet high and 12 feet wide at the top. There is still a parapet with loop holes and ramps going up to the parapet. The gates are 18 feet wide on the west and east walls and protected by outworks. There are large circular bastions on the 4 corners and rectangular bastions on the side walls - 4 on the east and west and 5 or 6 on the north and south. (see photos and maps)

The other fortress area of particular interest is around Lou-lan at 89 degrees 50 minutes east longitude and 40 degrees 31 minutes north latitude. It is north east of Abdal and Miran and Charklik on the western edge of the Lop Salt sea. In other words west of Khara-Khoto. It is north of the remaining dry delta of the Tarim River, which flowed eastward from the far western corner of the Tien Shan mountains along the northern edge of the Takla Mahan desert. The fortress is an irregular oblong with one face north east to south west of 620 feet and the short sides are 330 feet. The orientation is designed to face the shorter side against the prevaling wind from the north-east. The walls are made of alternating layers of thick clay and toghruk trunks laid cross wise. They are 32 feet wide at the base. The clay is built of blocks of natural clay quarried and then the blocks are mortared with mud. The walls slope in - the trunks on the 2nd level are 22 feet wide with the mud set at 5 foot interval. The alternate layers of wood trunks and clay bricks reach an original height of 21 feet. The wall was reinforced by timber upright posts in pairs one inside and one outside probably originally connected by a cross piece. The gateway on the North East face shows the sides of the gate opening revetted by 9 posts set in massive foundations with a 22 foot cross beam joined two posts near the entrance. The width of the gate was 10 feet and original height 10 feet. It was closed by massive wood doors of 2 leaves 5 feet each. There were interior buildings. Recovered artifacts here dated from Neolithic stone age to early AD silver and coins of 3rd century AD near forts L.K, L.L and L.M. On February 7th Stein found a similar fort built to the same design but smaller - 398 feet long by 218 feet wide with a rampart 26 feet wide. The walls were made of 7 layers each 16 inches thick. There were Chinese and Sogdian documents there. On 9 Feb. he went NE from L.M. to Lou Lan L.A. North of Lou Lan is Astin-bulak and then Altmish-bulak, both small oasis, where more Neolithic tools were found over a wide area. At Lou Lan itself there were pottery, bronze tools, a ruined temple and cemetary and Han Chinese coins. It appears that this fortified Chinese station was abandoned in the 4th century.

Besides these two impressive fortresses, Stein found many guard towers, signal towers, and sections of the wall. North east of Lou-lan 19 miles was fort L.E. that Stein found with a Han era wall similar to that near Tun-Huang built of alternate layers of stamped clay and reed fascines. This one appears to date from the first Chinese in the Tarim at end of 2nd century - It was a bridge head across the Lop sea for the desert route but is now erroded by 2,000 years of wind blown sand. The east- west walls are 450 feet long and north- south walls 400 feet long with 10 foot-wide gates in north and south walls.

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