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


Sir Aurel Stein K. C. I. E.
Oxford, At the Clarendon Press,
Oxford, England 1928
Volume I Text

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Table of Contents

Volume I
Introduction - vii - xx
List of abbreviated titles - xxiii - xxvi
List of 288 Illustrations in Volume I - xxxiii - xxxix

Chapter I - Through Chilas, Darel and Tangir - 1 - 35
Section I - From Kashmir to Chilas - 1
Section II - Chilas and its Past - 7
Section III - On the way to Darel -13
Section IV - Darel Old and New - 20
Section V - Through Lower Darel and Tangir - 30

Chapter II - From Yasin to Kashgar - 36 - 65
Section I - Yasin in History and Geography - 36
Section II - Through Yasin to the Darkot Pass -41
Section III - From the Yarkhun Head-waters to the Tagh-dumbash Pamir - 47
Section IV - In the Valley of Tash-kurghan - 53
Section V - By the Kara-tash River to Kashgar - 58

Chapter III - From Kashgar to the Khotan River - 66 - 97
Section I - Along the Outermost T'ien-shan - 66
Section II - Old Remains and Routes beyond Marl-bashi - 74
Section III - A Hill Range in the Taklamakan - 81
Section IV - Past the Mazar-tagh of Khotan - 90

Chapter IV - From Khotan to Lop - 98 - 155
Section I - Antiques from Khotan Sites - 98
Section II - List of Antiques acquired at Khotan - 101
Section III - Finds at Sites near Domoko - 127
Section IV - The Niya Site revisited - 140
Section V - List of Antiques from Niya Site - 148

Chapter V - On the Way to Lop-nor - 156-179
Section I - Charchan and Yash-shahri - 156
Section II - The Sites of Koyumal and Bash-Koyumal - 163
Section III - Resumed Labors at Miran - 169

Chapter VI - Remains of an Ancient Delta - 180 - 213
Section I - The Ruined fort of L.K. - 180
Section II - List of objects found near or excavated at Fort L.K. - 189
Section III - The Sites of L.L and L.M. - 192
Section IV - List of Antiques excavated or found at the Sites L.L.., and L.R. - 198
Section V - Across the Ancient Delta of the Kuruk-darya - 204

Chapter VII - The Remains of Ancient Lou-lan - 214 - 280
Section I - Work resumed at and around the Lou-lan Site - 214
Section II - Miscellaneous Objects found at or near Lou-lan Site L.A. - 219
Section III - Relics of an Ancient Burial-ground - 225
Section IV - The Textile Relics of L.C. - 231
Section V - The Decorative Designs of the L. C. Fabrics - 235
Section VI - Miscellaneous Sepulchral Deposits and Descriptive List of Antiques from L. C. - 245
Section VII - The Ancient Castrum L. E. and the Remains of Mesa L. F. - 259
Section VIII - From the Lou-lan Station to Altmish-bulak - 269

Chapter VIII - The Search for the Ancient Chinese High Road - 281 - 312
Section I - To the Easternmost Outpost of Lou-lan - 281
Section II - The location of the "Town of the Dragon" - 290
Section III - Across the Salt-encrusted Lop Sea-bed - 295
Section IV - The "White Dragon Mounds: - 304

Chapter IX - To the Su-lo Ho Delta- 313 - 342
Section I - By the Eastern Coast of the Cried-up Sea - 313
Section II - The Valley of Besh-toghrak - 321
Section III - An Ancient Terminal Basin - 327
Section IV - The Delta of the So-lo Ho - 333
Section V - Transport Problems of the Ancient Lou-lan Route - 337

Chapter X - To Tun-huang and An-hsi - 343 - 370
Section I - The Limes North-west of Tun-huang - 342
Section II - Tun-huang and the "caves of the Thousand Buddhas' revisited - 354
Section III - By the Han Limes to An-hsi - 362

Chapter XI - In Search of the Limes to Su-chou - 371 - 403
Section I - The Limes Line North of the Su-lo Ho - 371
Section II - From Ch'iao-wan-ch'eng to Shih-erh-tun - 378
Section III - Hua-hai-tzu and its Limes Remains - 389
Section IV - The Limes traced East of Hua-hai-tzu - 397

Chapter XII - From Su-chou to the Limes of Mao-mei - 404 - 428
Section I - The Limes along the Pei-ta-ho - 404
Section II - Past the Mao-mei Oasis and its Outposts - 409
Section III - List of Antiques from Ruins of Han Limes - 414

Chapter XIII - The Etsin-gol Delta and the Ruins of Khara-khoto - 429 - 506
Section I - The Lower Etsin-gol and its Terminal Basin - 429
Section II - Khara-khoto and its Remains - 435
Section III - Remains outside Khara-khoto - 445
Section IV - The Remains of a Rural Settlement and Marco Polo's "City of Etzina' - 453
Section V - List of Antiques from Khara-khoto and Neighboring Sites - 462

Chapter XIV - To Kan-chou and the Central Nan-shan - 507 - 521
Section I - A Desert Route towards Kan-chou - 507
Section II - To Nan-kou-ch'eng and the Eastern Head-waters of the Kan-chou River - 511
Section III - Return from the Nan-shan to Mao-mei - 518

Chapter XV - Across the Pei-shan to Barkul - 522 - 547
Section I - Through the Desert Ranges of the Pei-shan - 522
Section II - Across the Easternmost T'ien-shan - 529
Section III - Past the Karlik-tagh and Barkul - 535
Section IV - Historical Relations between Barkul and Hami - 539



During the third expedition Stein returned to several of the important sites he had explored during his second expedition. Since he was still editing the official report of that second expedition well after returning from the third he was able to incorporate much information from the latter tour into Serindia. In this report he mentions when that occurs and refers the reader back to the previous report. From the point of view of the reader interested in fortifications, I believe, the chapters on Stein's continued search for and study of the Han wall and the chapter on the fortress at Khara-khoto may be the most interesting. For the reader interested in exploration perhaps the chapter on the return to Lou-lan and especially the description of Stein's remarkable trek across the dry Lop Salt Sea may be more exciting. For those with antiquarian and historical interests the chapters on the new lost mountain valley societies that Stein described may be of interest, along with the revealing photos he made of their inhabitants.

Aurel Stein here describes his plans and the considerations that determined the dates for his expedition. He gives copious acknowledgment and thanks to the many officials and others who sanctioned the expedition and provided official funds. He thanks foe Surveyor General of India for assigning Rai Bahadur Lal Singh, the eminent senior surveyor, again as his chief assistant. plus two other experienced surveyors, Muhammed Yakib Khan and Mian Afraz-gul Khan, (of the saintly Kaka-khel clan) from the Kyber Rifles. The Indian military provided Naik (corporal) Shamsuddin of the First K> G. O. Sappers and Miners as engineering assistant. In view of the official financial support it was agreed that all archeological 'finds' would be provided to the museum in New Delhi. The expedition traveled nearly 11,000 miles during a period of 2 years and 8 months. Stein was determined also to develop information on the past and present conditions prevailing along the medieval caravan routes used by specific travelers including Marco Polo as well as countless military and commercial travelers. One important consideration for the route and departure date was the temporary opening of secluded mountain areas in northwest India normally closed by their local chieftains to European visitors.

Stein provides in this chapter a summary of the content of the expedition, the routes and locations visited and the principal results obtained.

The results were so voluminous and consisted of so much very specialized material from soil samples to documents in unknown languages to examples of high Buddhist fine arts that the full study and description has involved a large number of noted specialist scholars who have prepared appendices to this report as well as separate publications. Stein gratefully describes the contributions of these scholars.


Chapter I - Through Chilas, Darel, and Tangir

Section I - Kashmir to Chilas

For this, his third expedition, Stein as always planned on following a new route through yet unexplored territory. This time he took advantage of a temporary lull in the typical local fighting between mountain chieftains to travel along a more westernly route than on the first and second expeditions, visiting mountain valleys not previously opened to Europeans. For this he obtained special permission through the Indian government negotiations with chiefs in Chilas, Darel and Tangir to visit their domains. This also involved crossing numerous high passes and moving through nearly impassible river gorges. Again, the timing for the expedition departure was critical, too early would mean high passes closed by deep snow, but too late would mean river gorges were swollen with the raging torrents from melted snow.

Stein was especially keen to visit the Darel valley as it had been mentioned by those medieval Buddhist pilgrims he followed as the route used between the Oxus and Indus rivers. This and other valleys were occupied by fanatical Dard tribesmen. Stein notes that more recently one Raja Pakhtun Wali, descended of the Kushwaqt family and son of Mir Wali, former ruler of Yasin, had gained control of Tangir and by 1909 had expanded his power over Darel and adjacent valleys. This 'ruler' was bent on developing better relations with the British Raj in order to gain support for his own precarious rule. Stein was quick to take advantage of this unusual situation and propose to route his expedition through this local chief's domain, that is through Chilas and Yasin. Darel and Tangir are on the mountain route between the Indus and Yasin. However, intense diplomatic negotiations and the extensive preparations for this lengthy expedition prevented Stein from departing Kashmir until 31 July.

The journey began by boat, down the Jhelam or Vyath - Hydaspes river from Srinigar to Bandipur on Volur lake. From there the extensive and heavy baggage was sent with Muhammed Yaqub Khan and Naik Shamsuddin via the Gilgit Transport Road to Hunza. Stein liked to travel as light as possible and for this section of his trip such was essential. With Lal Singh and Afraz-gul he departed on 2 August directly toward Chilas through the deep gorges of the Kishanganga and across the watershed towards the Indus by the Barai pass at 14,250 feet. At that point they had reached Chilas territory. Two more days and across the Fasat Pass at 15,200 feet brought them to the fort at Chilas.

Stein digresses to discuss the historical events of the Chinese military campaign in 747 AD in which General Kao hsien-chih brought his army through the Pamirs and across the Darkot to drive Tibetans out of Yasin and Gilgit. It was at that time that the Tibetans were forcing the Chinese out of Turkistan and attempting to gain alliance with the Arabs to the west. The Chinese expedition was designed to block this effort. Stein describes all this in more detail in Ancient Khotan. He notes that then and still recently attacks on Chilas and Gilgit came from the Chitral side (west) until in 1893 the Sikhs invaded and finally a garrison was permanently established in Chilas Fort. The Chinese reported the same danger in 749 AD.

Stein continues with detailed discussion of alternate routes over various passes. each of which has its peculiar difficulties, making reference to various map sheets in the Indian Survey series. He also discusses the rather complex political situations among the various tribes who inhabit these isolated valleys. (All of this area is now part of the problem facing the Pakistani government.)


Section II - Chilas and Its Past

While these sections on life and the peoples of northwest India (Pakistan) are tangential to his study of Chinese Turkestan, they are a fascinating look into society there only a hundred years ago. His simple matter-of-fact descriptions of the difficulties he overcame in simply moving through narrow gorges and over snow covered passes and glaciers reveal his personality. Unfortunately time and space prevents more than a bare summary here. Readers should study his multi-volume texts. His many illustrations, made with the primitive glass plate camera of that time, are excellent in showing the people and places.

Stein continues with reference to other medieval notices of the Chilas area. In particular he quotes from Alberuni's India and his own translation of the Rajat (Kalhana's Rajatarangini, a Chronicle of the Kings of Kashmir in 2 volumes). Chilas and the surrounding valleys are occupied by Dard peoples, an ancient race that has held out for centuries against campaigns by Sikhs and others from the south and south-east. Stein laments that his late start and lack of time for more extensive research. The general opinion of the Dard peoples of Chilas is that they are warlike and engage in constant raiding of their neighbors.

On 8 August he crossed the Barai pass in rain and snow. Then on August 9 he crossed the Fasat pass at nearly 15,000 feet elevation on a very steep track and snow. He passed through Niat village at 7,000 feet. On 10 August he continued down the Niat valley. Near Basha at 5,500 feet the scenery changed from thick forest to barren rock. Soon he reached a spot about 1000 feet above the Indus. There he was welcomed by the local British agent, Captain C. T. Daukes. With the captain as guide he visited the fort of Chilas about a mile from the Indus and garrisoned by a double company of Imperial Service troops. He notes that Chilas only became part of British Indian's protection in 1893. There is more interesting description of the area in this section.


Section III - On the Way to Darel

Stein was met at Chilas by four agents sent by Raja Pakhtun Wali from Darel to secure his passage. Stein notes the double role of these worthies and the armed troops - that is to protect him from the many bandits or would-be bandits and also to ensure that he stayed on the correct route and didn't bring any British mischief into Darel. In fact his entrance and passage though this semi-independent area was a great concession by its war lord. The Raja had insisted that Stein could not be accompanied by a single person from the Gilgit Political Agency. Stein started again on 11 August. The first several day's progress included devious routes through the Hodar valley to the north of the Indus. But first the route continued through rocky defiles on the Indus itself below Chilas. He had to travel down stream on a skin raft made of 6 bullock skins guided by 4 swimming experts. As always, he measured the river flow and found it was 14 miles an hour - as he noted "an exciting journey, but at the same time refreshing and restful" The raging river was confined between sheer walls and only 200 -300 yards wide. And by that time it was already 24 feet below high flood stage. At the location where the river passed the Hodar valley Stein's 'exciting journey' stopped and the baggage was ferried across. Above the village there Stein spotted a ruin on a ridge some 300 feet above so of course climbed to examine this 'fort' - 160 yards by 100 yards in size. (fig 5) The following day Stein began moving through even more narrow gorges in which animal transport was impossible. So he had the first of the many teams of local porters assigned to carry the baggage while he proceeded on foot. This situation continued until he reached Yasin. Near Dar, he found another ruined fort on a spur beside the track. That evening they camped above Pakora village at 7,600 feet. The next day they crossed the Unutai-gali pass at 10,510 feet. This was the entrance to Darel, the Khanbari valley. The mountain slopes were again covered with thick forest. At the pass the previous porters were relieved by a crew of Darelis. A half mile on Stein was met for official welcome by Mehjtarjao Shah Alam, the Pakhtun Wali's nephew and escort of armed troops of the Wali's personal guard.
Stein had received permission to conduct survey of this unmapped area. Lal Singh had begun the plane table work at the entrance to the Hodar valley and continued it through Darel. Stein describes his visit to Darel in detail making specific mention of the assistance provided by Shah Alam and Pakhtun Wali. The route led over more passes, including the Phuno-phuno at 13,650 feet and the Chiyagal pass at 14,000. .


Section IV - Darel Old and New

In this section Stein again digresses to provide as much historical information and his current observations of the people as he can. He starts as usual with the descriptions provided by those trustworthy Chinese pilgrims, Fa-hsien and Hsuan-tsang. The former passed through in 403 AD. Stein provides and analyzes his accounts and the T'ang Dynasty annals. He proceeds to narrate his trip through Darel. The first main stop was at Mankial. As usual with foresight he had sent the Wali a list of 'old places' he wanted to visit. So he was promptly provided with 'greybeard' guides to these locations. Without losing time Stein visited as many 'kot's as possible. He concluded that most pre-dated Muhammadan times. He describes each in turn in the order visited. The first was Ramal-kot and oval enclosure on a rocky ridge with long axis 100 yards. The second was Zhomi-kot and the third Taronali-kot. He then visited Bojo-kot, actually a series of fortified houses on a walled terrace. After visiting several walled villages Stein was taken to Raji-kot on a rocky hill about 500 feet above the river valley, then past Bodo-kot and Gali-kot on spurs to stop at Gali-kot. On a high ridge above Raji-kot Stein found a massive wall. Throughout the valley, or rather on the ridges and spurs around it, Stein was shown many more ruined walls and enclosures. One had walls 16 feet thick. Stein decided that the Raji-kot for had been the main residence of the ancient rulers of Darel. Now Raja Pakhtun Wali had decided to build his castle (palace), called Gumare-kot, in a plain just south of this hill. Stein was greeted there by the Raja in full state. Stein provides a summary biography of this worthy Khushwaqt chief who had conquered the region for himself. Unfortunately, as Stein note, Tangir tribesmen murdered the Raja in 1917 and burned down his new building forcing his wife and children to flee to Kandia..


Section V - Through Lower Darel and Tangir

Stein moved on 18 August from Gumare-kot down the main Darel valley southward back toward the Indus, passing walled terraces, old irrigation canals, villages and more forts. Near Shaha-khel he found a ruined fort on a high peak called Lokilo-kot (Red Fort) built of clay - a rectangle 174 by 115 feet with corner bastions 12 feet square. It commanded the entrance to the valley. To avoid return to the Indus Stein crossed the Shardai pass toward Tangir over a very dangerous ascent by a zigzag trail. High in this pass Stein found another fort 183 by 262 feet with 12 foot square bastions, designed to guard Darel. After 5 hours climbing they crossed the pass at 10,050 feet. The descent to the Tangir river was equally difficult and dangerous. The Raja had another fortress in Tangir at Jaglot. Both valleys are at similar elevations between 6,000 and 7,500 feet. Stein describes his passage of two days up the Tangir valley. This was dangerous territory due to the fanaticism of the inhabitants plus their unruly and warlike nature. He observed that the Raja's escort spread out and established flank and lead guards as a distance. Along the way he continually compared the racial characteristics of the local population in each valley and noted that those in Tangir differed considerably from those in Darel. When he had time he would call together a representative group and perform anthropological measurements as well as make photographs and write down as much of the local language as possible. He found that in Tangir there was an active logging enterprise operated by the Kaka-khel traders whose sancity enabled them to conduct business in tracts too dangerous for others. The Tangiris lived in small separated and isolated villages whereas the Darelis lived at least much of the year in larger centralized communities. The upper part of the Tangir valley was held by Gabar-khel tribesmen who showed their animosity as Stein passed through with armed escort. He camped with Mian Shah-zada, a Kaka-khel from Ziarat and uncle of Afraz-gul, and whose recommendation had helped Stein gain passage. And during the crossing it was Shah-zada whose influence kept the restless local tribes at bay. On 21 August Stein continued through forest upwards to over 10,000 feet elevation. From there the climb was above the tree line over steep rock slopes. They reached the top of the Sheobat pass over 15,000 feet, which is the watershed between the Indus and Gilgit rivers and the border of Raja Wali's domain. There he was met by a large team of Gupis porters sent up to take over the baggage.


Chapter II From Yasin to Kashgar

Section I - Yasin in History and Geography

By crossing the Sheobat pass Stein entered the territories of Gupis and Yasin. The Gilgit Agency had been established only in 1877. Stein restricts himself to general comments on the history of and society in Yasin. He was now in the main historical route from the Darkot pass to India from the Pamirs. He mentions some of the Chinese reports. As early as 722 AD. the Chinese sent an army into Yasin in an effort to block the Tibetans from joining forces with the Arabs to the west. They were active again in 737 and it was in 747 that the famous general Kao Hsien-chih brought his army across the Pamirs and over the Darkot pass. He discussed all this in Ancient Khotan. Further Chinese expeditions to Yasin took place in 750 and 753. But the defeat of the Chinese main army by the Arabs in 751 north of the Pamirs resulted in ultimate Chinese withdrawal from Turkestan. After Chinese withdrawal there have been no reliable records about Yasin for a 1000 years. Then the Khushwaqts and Katur families gained control and maintained rulers over Chitral and Mastuj for generations. Stein describes the topography of Yasin and remarks on its fertility and openness to sunshine. The region was only held back economically by the incessant warfare of the ruling clans. Normally Yasin's position and ease of defense provides security. But when powerful outside forces such as Chinese or Tibetans need to use the direct route south from the Darkot and Baroghil passes does it get invaded and overrun.

Stein notes that most of the inhabitants speak Burushaski an language distinct from the other Dardic languages of the Hindukush. The inhabitants call themselves Wurish. Two main sections of Yasin are Ghizar and Kho.


Section II - Through Yasin to the Darkot Pass

Stein reports that Ghizar was too far from his route of march but that he did manage to visit Kho. On 23 August he descended from the Sheobat pass over the remains of a glacier. Stein took a short cut to a pass giving direct access to Gupis. But the unexplored pass almost defeated the porters. They spent 8 hours climbing over huge masses of rocks and boulders. before reaching a narrow gully that was the pass at 16,000 feet. They were still at 15,000 feet by nightfall when forced to make camp. The next day they moved down to Gupis through more steep and narrow passages. They stayed in Gupis on 24 August. There they met the garrison of Gupis fort which guards the entrance to the Yasin valley and route leading to Mastuj and Chitral. It was at this point also that the Chinese army destroyed the bridge across the Gilgit river to block Tibetan advance. On 25 August Stein marched the 13 miles from Gupis to Yasin. All this is discussed in Serindia and Ancient Khotan. By spending a day in Yasin Stein had time to visit the Governor, Raja Shahid-ul-Ajam, another Khushwaqt clansman. He proceeded again on 27 August. Stein notes that it was his desire to see the pass over which Chinese general Kao Hsien-chih had brought his army in 747 AD. (see Serindia) , the Darkot pass, which prompted him to climb to the pass through deep snow early in the season during his second expedition. He described all that in Desert Cathay. So now with the season being much later he was determined to repeat the effort. He accomplished his desire on 29 August at 15,250 feet according to his barometer, or 15,380 feet according to the Trans-frontier map.

This whole section if a fascinating account of Yasin ancient and modern and its inhabitants and topography, which, unfortunately, we have to skip .


Section III - From the Yarkhun Head-waters to the Tagh-dumbash Pamir

In this section Stein narrates the course of his movement from the Darkot pass, where he was met by Captain H.F. D. Stirling of the 57th Wilde's Rifles (who later died during WWI), with a team of Mastuj porters. From there Stein was forced by a rock slide closure of the north-eastern glacier route to take the more difficult north-western descent. From there Stein also had to avoid Afghanistan to which he had obtained permission in 1906 that was now lacking. Therefore he had to cross laterally across the Yarkhun and Karmbar rivers above 12, 000 and 14,000 feet toward Hunza. The route also crosses the Chillinji pass at 17,500 feet. On August 30 a long march took Stein from the Baroghil saddle to Murgach near the Karambar pass. In these very high mountain valleys he met Wakhis herdsmen with their flocks on summer grazing grounds, even though they were Afghans. He passed a small fort built by Wakhis as defense against Kirghiz raiders. He was now at 14,420 feet elevation passing glaciers that fed rivers to both west and south. Continuing down on 1 September Stein met a team of 40 Wakhis porters waiting for him near the Chillinji glacier. On 2 September they again went up to the Chhillinji pass over fresh snow. The climb took 8 hours to reach the 17,500 foot elevation. They continued east to camp at 15,000 feet. His illustrations dramatically display the scene on these glaciers. On September 4th they reached Spandrini in the Chapursan valley. On 5 September they crossed the Kermin pass at 13,600 feet into the Derdi valley. From there they reached the main road up the Hunza valley to Top-khana 5 miles from Misgar. Stein had used this route for the first expedition in 1900. At Murkushi he met Muhammad Yaqub and Naik Shamsuddin who had brought the heavy baggage there directly from Kashmir via Gilgit and Hunza. Thus Stein's lengthy excursion of 5 weeks west was purely to enable him to see unexplored valleys. Once again, rather than repeat a crossing of the Kilik pass used in 1900 he chose a new route over the Ming-taka pass. They reached the crest at 15,650 feet by mid-day on 7 September. He had crossed 15 passes at elevations from 10,000 to 17,500 over a total distance of 520 miles of which 4/5 was on foot.


Section IV - In the Valley of Tash-Kurghan

Stein passed through the Tagh-dumbash valley to the capital of Sarikol, Tash-kurghan, in 4 days - September 8 - 11.
He had been through this valley already during both his first and second expeditions. Here he mostly describes changes he observed. As he was to note throughout this expedition he found that cultivation had expanded since his visit in 1906. He connected this with an increase in population since the raids from Hunza had been stopped by British control. Along the way he searched for evidence of an ancient legend of a canal "Faryad-ariki". He reports that his old friend, Rashid Beg, explained that the expansion of irrigation around Dafdar was due to the reopening of this very canal by the military Amban at Tash-kurghan. Stein traced its impressive construction over many miles. Stein refers also to the mountain fortress at Kiz-kurghan, which was already a ruin when visited by Hsuan-tsang in the 7th century and which Stein described in Serindia. His point was that this ruin could not have survived even in its dilapidated condition except for the dryness of the climate, which in turn was the reason agriculture depended on irrigation using runoff of snow from the higher elevations. He again marvels at the view from the valley of massive Muztagh-ata far to the north (which he had tried to climb on the earlier expedition). He stopped on 11 September to visit another ruined fortress known as Bazar-dasht. the northwest wall measured 190 yards but the remains rose only 3-4 feet above ground. Stein also revisited the fortifications of Tash-kurghan. A detached enclosure was measured at 193 by 83 feet with round towers 10 feet in diameter at three corners. There were gates remaining in the north and south walls. The walls were only 2-3 feet thick built of large bricks or stones. Further down the ridge he found another enclosure 53 by 26 feet. Stein spent 12 September in Tash-kurghan making arrangements for transport further on.


Section V - By the Kara-tash River to Kashgar

On September 13th Stein departed Tash-kurghan for Kashgar. Again, he selected a new and unexplored route, through the Kara-tash valley, which was only open at certain times of the year. Crossing the outer ridges of Muztagh-ata on the Chichiklik plateau and Dershat valley, Stein felt he was in the footsteps of his 'patron' Hsuan-tsang, (in 642 AD) as he had been also in June 1906. See Serindia for more descriptions. On Chichiklik he again found an enclosure and apparent travelers way station that conformed to Hsuan-tsang's descriptions. From there Stein followed his 'patron' through the narrow Tangri-tar rock gorges to Tar-bashi. On 15 September Stein divided his team at Toile-bulung. (For this expedition he had the additional capabilities of three Indian surveyors.) He sent Lal Singh eastward to move through Yarkand and Khotan to the main section of the K'un-lun above Kapa and east to Charchan to extend the previous triangulation further east. He expected to meet Lal Singh again at Miran 4 months later on 15 January.

Stein again expresses his confidence in Lal Singh. "I could place absolute reliance on my own travel-companion's devoted zeal and energy."
Stein sent the heavy baggage on to Kashgar with Afraz-gul Khan and Naik Shamsuddin. He then went due north with Muhammad Yaqub Khan to survey a new route across the Merki pass and down the Kara-tash valley river. In 1906 he had tried to accomplish this by sending surveyor Rai Ram Singh but the route was blocked. This time the Kirghiz reported that favorable climate might result in the gorges remaining open. On the morning of 16 September Stein crossed the Merki (or Buramsal) pass at 15,000 feet by using yaks through the deep snow. The descent to the north was more difficult to reach a Kirghiz camp at 12,180 feet where they remained over night. With fresh yaks he continued down through the river bed. They found Kirghiz cultivation at the confluence of the Merki and Kara-tash rivers at 10,000 feet. There they obtained Kirghiz camels at Chimghan.

On 18 September they continued north through more gorges which required 2 days to advance 20 miles. . Further on they had to make use of 'rafiks' that is artificial galleries attached to the sides of sheer rock walls. At such points the camels had to be unloaded and the baggage carried by porters. The ponies and camels had other difficulties threading their way through bounders in the river bed. Finally they came to a complete blockage and had to retrace steps. On 19 September Stein found passage for the camels even more difficult as they had continually to cross and recross the river. Eventually the 'rafiks' became impassable for the ponies. They were then attached to ropes and had to swim the river while attached to the camels. It took the men 2 hours to advance 3/4 mile while climbing a steep slope to 800 feet above the river and then climbing down again. But they made it through the river gorge to Saman where the valley opened wide. On 20 September they continued through desolate terrain. The last defile was at Tushkuch where Stein measured the 40 yards wide river flow at 1,400 cubic feet per second. This was at low water stage. He estimated that at flood season the flow would be 3-4 times greater. From there they reached a small but flourishing village at Altunluk. He was met there by Kichik Beg, another old acquaintance, sent from Yangi-hissar Ya-men to await him.

On 21 September Stein completed a 40 mile ride to Kashgar. Muhammad Yaqub Khan surveyed the route as Stein rushed ahead. Stein passed a walled village, Ak-bash town, with walls of 129, 144, and 164 yards length. The walls were of stamped clay to an average height of 20 feet. Above this rampart there was a wall of sun-dried bricks 13 x 13 x 2 inches to an additional height of 10 feet. At the northeast corner the wall was 10 feet wide at top with a 3.5 feet wide parapet to 7 feet height. Stein was welcomed for the night by Sir George Macartney at the British Consulate General (note now not simply a representative of the Government of India.)


Chapter III From Kashgar to the Khotan River

Section I - Along the Outermost T'ien-shan

Once again Stein had to remain in Kashgar for an extended period in order to organize his work for the coming year and acquire men and transport. As always his prior planning was meticulous and effective .He had written ahead and secured reliable Hassan Akhun as head camel man and Hassan had personally selected 12 special camels for the expedition. Other of the former team of Turki assistance had also eagerly come to join up. Only the matter of a Chinese secretary, interpreter, had Stein been unable to find a suitable person. The fellow from the first tour was incompetent. The excellent individual from the second tour, Chiang Ssu-yeh, was too infirm to risk lengthy journeys in desert and mountains. At length Stein had to settle on one Li Ssu-yeh who left very much to be desired. Although Stein did note that the translator - interpreter - had never failed in that department and was totally discreet and trustworthy. It was just that he was not interested in history, archeology or any of Stein's purposes that had fully absorbed Chiang's attention. Sir George warned Stein that the Chinese revolution had brought into power officials who would not be so friendly and moreover there were revolutionary activities about as well.

On 9 October Stein departed for the longest tour in Turkestan he had yet attempted. He was anxious to reach Lop, over 600 miles away in time to work during the winter. But of course there were many sights to see and places to dig on the way. Naturally the route had to pass through Khotan, which Stein was eager to visit again anyway. But rather than take the 'highway' directly, which he had traversed before, he got the idea to take a 'short cut' by going directly east across an uncharted section of the desert and on finding the Khotan river follow it due south. He sent the heavy baggage ahead by the high road to Khotan. And Muhammad Yakub was sent on a road east to Maral-bashi. Stein with Afraz-gul and Naik Shamsuddin headed north east to explore new ground along the foothills of the T'ien-shan before reaching Maral-bashi. This section is Stein's account of that portion of his trek. He reached Maral-bashi on 18 October.


Section II - Old Remains and Routes beyond Maral-bashi

Stein halted at Maral-bashi to make last minute preparations for the dangerous move into the full desert. This section is his narration of that failed effort to reach the Khotan river directly. And one senses a bit of excuse making for this failure. It was the remarkably high sand dunes that did it. Stein prepared - he had brought 6 galvanized iron water tanks and 40 some goat skins from India, but the desert won anyway. He reduced his party still more and sent more baggage south to Yarkand. While accomplishing these preparations Stein took a detour to visit a ruin at Lal-tagh north east of Maral-bashi. He records considerable detail and his conclusions about the road between Kashgar and Ak-su. He made a circuit and returned to Maral-bashi.


Section III - A Hill Range in the Taklamakan

On 25 October Stein finally departed Maral-bashi into the desert. He wanted to reach the Khotan river directly at the hill fortress Mazar-tagh, over looking the river. He explains his rationale for attempting this exploit. He claims (no doubt rightly) that he was under no illusions about the difficulty of the endeavor. He tramped south eastward for 3 days. By 31 October he was beginning to recognize the inevitable. Some sand dunes rose over 300 feet high directly across his route. Some of the extra hired camels were already breaking down. In one ten hour period they traveled only 11 miles but actually advanced only 7 miles. At that point Stein reckoned he was still 100 miles from Mazar-tagh. That meant that even at maximum rate of march it would take two more weeks to reach the river and water. Stein also knew about the disaster Sven Hedin had survived a few years before. He provides an illustration (fig 90) of the forbidding terrain ahead. Facing the strong likelihood of disaster Stein turned around and headed back to the Yarkand river near Maral-bashi. Stein concludes this section with recommendations for future exploration of the area. And also he supplies more detailed descriptions of the topography. He was convinced that there had been a very ancient mountain chain or at least ridges connecting Maral-bashi and Mazar-tagh and wanted to prove it.


Section IV - Past the Mazar-tagh of Khotan

In this section Stein describes his alternate route to Mazar-tagh. He turned back and reached the Yarkand river in three days, which flows north along the entire western edge of the desert between it and the enclosing mountains. Riding then from 5 to 8 November he reached the outskirts of Ak-su cultivation. Once reaching the confluence with the Khotan river flowing from the south, Stein turned that way and hurried upstream. This was over ground he had surveyed in 1908. On 17 November Stein and party again surveyed to Mazar-tagh ridge and its Tibetan fortress. (Description is in Serindia.) There Stein found waiting Muhammad Beg, the head man at Islamabad, with a team of diggers from the south that Stein had the foresight to order up previously. Again raiding the extensive refuse dumps revealed more documents and other artifacts. Stein also found a Buddhist shrine he had missed in 1908. Stein had to abandon further exploration and rush on to Khotan, which he reached on 21 November. The section ends with two pages of the usual detailed descriptions of artifacts recovered around Mazat-tagh.


Chapter IV - From Khotan to Lop

Section I - Antiques from Khotan Sites

This section briefly describes Stein's preparatory activities in Khotan for the coming winter in the desert. And it contains notes about some of the more interesting of the artifacts listed in section II. Stein departed Khotan on 29 November.


Section II - List of Antiques acquired at Khotan

In this section Stein includes 27 pages of detailed descriptions of items brought to him at Khotan. As always Stein carefully distinguishes the items he has personally found from those supplied by other of the wide net of 'treasure seekers' he encouraged to bring in their finds. In this case much of the material listed came from Badruddin Khan and Tokhta Akhun.


Section III - Finds at Sites near Domoko

The section ends with 8 pages of detailed descriptions of items found at or near Domoko. On 30 November Stein left the edge of Khotan cultivation. He still had 700 miles of travel to reach the Lop Desert. He was in a rush, but not so much as to skip a return to Domoko, even though he had explored the oasis in 1901, 1906 and 1908. In this section he describes significant changes he observed, mostly increased irrigation and cultivation. He notes extensive additional irrigation around Gulakhma, Ponak and Domoko. He was guided to a new find by his former guides, Mullah Khwaja, Turdi and Kurban. These eager 'treasure seekers' had found bundles of manuscripts they knew Stein would want. But in their eagerness they had obliterated the structure of the shrine itself. All Stein could recover from the ruin was fragments of frescos - plaster painted in tempera that he judged the artistic equal of the completed work he had uncovered at Khadalik in 1906. He judged that the shrine had been abandoned toward the end of the 8th century. Stein remarks about the new discovery of a Buddhist shrine that with the deceptive terrain full of tamarisk-cones he is not surprised and expects still more such ruins will be found eventually.
The section closes with 8 more pages of detailed descriptions of items all carefully organized to show from whom or where they were obtained..


Section IV - The Niya Site revisited

Stein again spent three days at Keriya, among other preparations hiring 12 additional camels. Despite his sense of urgency to reach Lop he could not avoid the pleasure of returning once more to Niya, one of the locations of his spectacular achievements during the first expedition. He reached the oasis on 8 December. He carried orders from Tai Ta-lo-yeh, the Amban at Keriya, which promptly secured for him 40 laborers and a month's supply of rations to support his onward journey to Charchan. He started north on 13 December. He noticed that the camel tracks from his visit in 1906 were still visible. Three days' march brought him back to the Niya ruin. He excavated at several sites, marked N xlii and N xliii and wide reconnaissance located a few more. He describes the Niya ruin area in detail with illustrations. Besides buildings he found a former orchard and vineyard. With the much larger team of laborers this time he was able to clear more buildings. - N iii, xii, N xxxix

On the way he noticed that summer floods had damaged the irrigation system - yes, too much water could be as devastating as too little. From the point of view of the archeological explorer, he remarked that centuries hence an explorer observing the abandoned buildings would not be able to ascertain the real cause of their abandonment. Stein, always ready to return favors, after returning from the Niya ruin, put his 40 laborers to work helping to repair the irrigation barrage and canals paying for this out of his own funds. Stein always carefully measured the flow of rivers he encountered. With the assistance of his long time 'factotum' Ibrahim Beg they determined that the flow would support additional cultivation.

Stein departed Tulkuch-kol ruin area on 18 December with the temperature already reaching 42 degrees F. below freezing headed east for Charchan.


Section V - List of Antiques from Niya Site

This section is 7 pages of detailed descriptions of items from Niya.


Chapter V - On the Way to Lop-nor

Section I - Charchan and Vash-shahri

Stein departed Niya river on 19 December headed for Lop-nor. He followed his 1901 and 1906 route along the Yar-tungaz river for two days. (He always appeared apologetic for going along a previous route rather than explore a new one.) In this case it enabled him to note that on sand dunes he could see the footprints of his camels from those prior trips. From the Yar-tungaz he crossed the desert directly toward the Endere. He noted that the Endere had again changed course, a phenomena that he already had pointed out created great difficulties for establishing continued irrigation systems. Stein refers to the report of his second expedition - Serindia - for his description of the region. He did not stop this time at Endere but proceeded directly to Charchan, where he stopped for two days. There he received word about a disturbance at Charkhlik related to the Chinese revolution. He provides an interesting account of the impact of the revolution on public affairs in Turkestan (not good). In this case the bandits had captured Charkhlik. Stein was advised to proceed with caution, which he did on December 31 over the 142 miles to Vash-shahri. This required 7 days ride along the left bank of the Charchan River. At the edge of Vash-shahri he was stopped by armed local Muhammadans who believed his group to be more bandits. This was cleared up by Stein's previous associate there, Roze Beg. Roze Beg again guided Stein's brief exploration of Vash-shahri which he had already explored in 1906 and described in Serindia. In this report he discusses a few more remains including coins confirming that the site was occupied into the 12th century. The place was known as Hsin-ch'eng in the Tang records which, with other records, indicates it was founded around 627-49 AD. Stein also studied the current situation. He noted extensive improvement, increase in population, expanded cultivation and prosperity since 1906.

From Roze Stein learned that the bandits had captured, tortured and killed the Chinese Amban at Charkhlik and taken control of the village. The local Muhammadans remained neutral and tried to avoid trouble with whichever Chinese regime had the upper hand. The former Amban had fortunately sent to Urumchi for help. A strong unit of Tungan troops duly arrived from Kara-shahr. They secretly entered the village at night and killed off the bandits. This incident is of interest relating to the history of the Chinese revolution and Central Asia. But it had another result remarkable to the success of Stein's projects.

Stein learned later that the revolutionary government at Urumchi had sent an order to the Amban at Charkhlik to prevent Stein's further exploration. This order was in the Ya-men safe during the incident, unexecuted by the civil Amban. It remained there since the Chinese regulations prohibited military officials, such as the commander of the relieving unit, from performing civil functions. Thus Stein was able to secure all the help with men and camels he needed at Charkhlik and proceed back into the desert to Lou-lan before this order was found.


Section II - The Sites of Koyumal and Bash-Koyumal

Stein departed Vash-shahri on 6 January and reached Charkhlik on the 8th. He found that the 'disturbances' and passage of sizable units of Tungan troops had depleted the scanty resources of the small town, greatly increasing his difficulty in hiring workers, camels and supplies for 3 months' work in the desert. He notes in this section that in Serindia he already described Charkhlik's history during the era in which Marco Polo passed by. Marco Polo called the town "City of Lop' and Hsuan-tsang called it Na-fu-po. In the T'ang annals it was Shik-ch'eng (Stone Town). Stein notes again his identification of Charkhlik with the Chinese military colony established there in 77 BC. He had to remain in Charkhlik for 6 days in order to collect the necessary resources, but used the time also for additional archeological work. He found remains of a brick ruin 15 feet in diameter near the center of the ancient walls previously described. This he identified as a stupa. To the south, outside the cultivated area he found two more ruins. One was called Koyumal. Its walls 8 feet thick were made of sun-dried bricks. The walls were about 218 yards long where still existing. In the center was another stupa some 28 feet square and 14 feet high. The sun-dried bricks were 17 x 9 x 4 inches. (plate 8). Near this were two Vihara chapels each about 20 feet long and 9 feet wide. The remains contained many fragments of plaster and wood. Another shrine was 30 yards to the south. Some documents in Sanskrit and Gupta were recovered.

Stein moved on south about 1.75 miles to another place named Bash-Koyumal. (plate 9) Parts of its wall remained in segments about 45 feet long made of sun-dried bricks 17 x 9 x 4 inches and 4 feet 9 inches thick. There was also a massive wall 10 feet thick and 50 feet long near the center. (fig 109). Fig 107 shows another stupa 12 feet square and remaining to 9 feet height made of bricks 17 x 9 x 4 inches. More fragments (including a rare one on silk) in Sanskrit language and Brahmi writing in Gupta style were found. Pieces of stucco relief included a head of Buddha.


Section III - Resumed Labors at Miran

Stein was relieved and happy when Lal Singh arrived from his 4 months' long survey in the Kun-lun and the Altin-tagh south of the desert caravan routes. This was to extend the surveys of 1906 at Kapa further east of Lop-nor as far as Nan-hu. Stein departed Charkhlik on 15 January despite failing to secure adequate numbers of workers and amounts of supply. He rushed to Miran which he reached in 2 days. He found the condition of tiny Miran on 17 January much improved and expanded after 7 years. He also found that the water supply of the Miran river exceeded that of the Charchan river at Charkhlik. Stein was eager to return to the ruined stupa at Miran which he had excavated and photographed in 1907 as shown in Serindia. Unfortunately his careful effort at preservation by burying the frescos was undone and ruined by a Japanese amateur explorer who had damaged the walls while cutting away some fragments. However other sections of the walls remained protected by earth which Stein then set about excavating. Stein photographed these frescos and then began the careful removal he well knew how to accomplish. In fact special tools for this delicate endeavor had been developed and created in India at the shops of the 1st Sappers and Miners. (fig110) This was undertaken by Naik Shamsuddin and Afraz-gul and Stein personally. Once removed the frescos had to be packed in specially built wooden crates. The effort required 12 days to complete. The results are to be displayed in the new museum in New Delhi.

Stein was able to incorporate much of the new information he obtained at Miran in his chapter in Serindia since that report was not completed until after this third expedition. However, he records here some information about additional ruins he found at this time. One of these was a site only 1.75 miles north. This was another stupa remains standing to 5 feet. Stein found enough objects to date the place to 8th-9th centuries AD. Another site was about 1.25 miles northeast of Mxiv. (fig 120). It was a tower 17 feet square and 16 feet high made of sun-dried bricks 18 x 10 x 4.5 inches. Stein was taken to yet another ruin on 18 January, M xv, (fig 119) about a mile north east of M v. This turned out to be not a stupa but a shrine that had contained statues. Several life-sized heads were recovered amid the debris of the collapsed dome and walls.

It was at Miran that Stein received a letter from Sir George Macartney informing him of the edit issued at Urumchi to prevent his archeological and survey work. In addition he was having great difficulties in hiring the recalcitrant Loplinks and their camels for the extended work. Very fortunately at that moment an old friend, Sher Ali Khan, a Pathan merchant traveler happened by with 40 camels loaded with tea enroute from Tun-huang to Yarkand. He agreed to exchange camels for those wanting to return to Charkhlik and also to assist with loading his own camels with the cases bound for Kashgar. Unable to spare camels Stein had to dispatch Lal Singh for his survey of the Kuruk-darya north on ponies. The hoped for plan that Stein had made months earlier was for Lal Singh to meet Abdur-rahim at Tikenlik. Stein also had to abandon his previous plans for exploration by Muhammad Yaqub Khan around the eastern side of the Lop Sea and instead send him along the southern shore and then for a level survey up the Su-lo Ho basin. Stein proposed to excavate remaining sites at Lou-lan and then search for the ancient Chinese caravan route directly across the Lop sea from Lou-lan back to Tun-huang.

Eventually Stein managed to collect 30 camels. They had to carry ice for 35 people for a month and food supplies for a month for all plus food for his own team for another month, plus of course the equipment, photographic plates, silver, tents, winter clothing and bedding. Stein records that 'it goes without saying that everyone had to walk." Thus he was greatly relieved on 31 January to be ready to set out while seeing off the caravan carrying the carefully packed cases west to Kashgar. (fig127).


Chapter VI - Remains of an Ancient Delta

Section I - The Ruined Fort of L. K.

In this section Stein describes the topography and vegetation encountered on his march north from Miran. Stein departed north on 1 February with old Tokhta Akhun serving a guide once more. He had to leave at Miran his Chinese interpreter, Li Ssu-yeh, too weak to cope with the desert along with two guards and the non-essential baggage, all of which had to move later on via the caravan route to Tun-huang. Stein's first objective was a fort found by Tokhta Akhun in 1910. The first day's travel was to Abdal on the Tarim River. The following day they crossed the frozen Tarim River. After another day they reached Uzun-kol, where they found fresh water ice to cut and load onto 19 camels. On 4 February Stein was able to see some peaks in the Altun-tagh far to the south and use them to triangulate his position with his plane table. On 5 February Stein was able by using field glasses to sight the ruins of fort L.K. in the distance. They soon noticed another fort west northwest of the first. Near fort L.K. they picked up stone-age remains on the desert surface about three miles west of the area in which they had found similar items in 1907. They soon found a Chinese bronze coin. Near the fort they crossed a dry bed of an ancient river. (fig 128, 129, 130, 133, plan 10 ). The fort was an irregular oblong with longer sides facing northeast and southwest about 620 feet long and the shorter sides 330 feet long. The corners were oriented to the cardinal points. The walls were massive but very badly eroded. But piles of drift sand protected parts of the walls. The surviving sections of the southwest face clear of sand on the inner side showed the construction methods. Outside and inside the fort the wind had eroded the ground level to depths of 25 feet. The wall was built of alternating layers of clay and Toghrak trunks and branches laid crosswise. The layers were more narrow as they rose giving the walls a slope inward. It was 32 feet wide at the base. The first clay was lumps of hard clay 5 feet thick, excavated from near the river. The second layer of Toghrak was 22 feet wide and 1.5 feet thick with a leveling layer of tamarisk brush under it. Then came a layer of clay 4.5 feet thick followed by another of Toghrak timber 15 feet wide and 2 feet thick. Above that was a clay layer 4 feet deep and then a layer of Toghrak 10 feet wide. The top of the wall was eroded too much for accurate measurements. But Stein was sure that the original top layer had been clay with a likely parapet. He presumed that the wall had originally been coated on both sides with clay. This had eroded along with the outer portions of the clay layers. (fig 129, 133). The sketch shows that the original wall must have risen to over 21 feet. The layers of wood increased in depth with each layer upwards while the clay layers decreased in depth. This method was to reduce 'top heaviness'. The wall was reinforced by vertical timber posts in pairs inner and outer, connected for a frame and some 15 feet apart. Stein believed that the design indicated Chinese engineering. The original gate was in the northeast face about 100 feet from the eastern corner. The top of the gate was eroded away but there was a considerable remains of the timber framework. The sides of the gate were revetted by nine posts on each side set in two massive foundation beams each 22 feet long. A cross beam joined the two near the entrance indicating that the gate had been 10 feet wide and 10 feet high. The gate was closed near the outer end by a massive wooden door of two leaves each 5 feet wide. One of these was on the ground with its boards 3 inches thick secured by stout cross-joints. The cross beam had sockets that once held the door jambs. The adjoining posts had holes into which fitted the cross-bar securing the folds when closed. This facility was similar to the gate found at Kara-dong in 1901.

Inside the walls there was an area near the middle of the northeastern wall about 130 feet by 100 covered with heavy timber debris . To the south of it there were remains of two small groups of timber and wattle built quarters. The timber was cracked by centuries of erosion. No refuse was found in this fort. Excavation revealed that the original walls were of a Toghrak frame with vertical wattle packed with tamarisk branches secured to cross beams joining the posts. The plaster on both sides reached 8 or 9 inches in thickness. A western room measured 27 by 20 feet. In it was a fine carved double bracket capital 3 feet long similar to some at Miran and Lou-lan. They are similar to Gandhara relievos and Persopolitan models. But only a few small objects were found in the ruin. Stein continues with descriptions of a number of other ruined buildings. No written remains were found at L.K. But Stein estimated the fort was dated from the same period as Lou-lan, that is to the 3rd century AD. The fort L.K. is on a straight line between Lou-lan and Miran, which was at that time the capital of the region and known as Yu-ni. L.K. lies about 30 miles south of Lou-lan, and was no doubt designed to protect the important route between those two posts.


Section II - List of Objects found near or excavated at Fort L. K.

This section of 3 pages describes the objects found there. The wooden double bracket capital is described in detail.


Section III - The Sites of L. L and L. M.

On 7 February Stein went to the small, nearby found by Tokhta Akhun and designated L.L. It was 3 miles west of L.K. It was also near the dry river bed. The walls were of stamped clay and layers of tamarisk in an oblong shape with shorter sides 138 feet and long sides 218 feet in length. The preserved rampart was 26 feet thick and seven layers of clay, each 16 inches thick, high. Each tamarisk layer was 6 inches thick. The east wall probably had contained the gate but was eroded. The east wall projected out 42 feet to make space for a small inner enclosure about 68 feet long.

From L.L. Stein walked northwest about 3 miles to another site, L. M. This contained small wood buildings, the ruins thereof, The first excavated was a room 25 by 30 feet. (fig137). Another room had the much sought for pile of refuse, 2 feet deep. Textiles including silk and leather were found, along with some documents. Another room also contained items such as a lacquered casket. Stein describes clearing more buildings with varying contents. There was a document written in Sogdian script and others in Cursive Brahmi and Chinese. Stein excavated many buildings in this rather large area over which they were spread sometimes hundreds of yards apart. He figured that the survival as ruins of these massively constructed buildings indicated that it was likely that many more lesser structures located in between had vanished.
In March 1915 Afraz-gul returned to the area while completing the surveys along the Kuruk-darya and around Lop during which he found another site not far to the west that they labeled L.R. Stein was convinced that the string of settlements from L.K. to L.R. along a line of 10 miles were the southern settlements on the Kuruk-darya delta while it still reached Lou-lan area. The area around L.M. furnished the local agricultural resources needed at L.K. and together these settlements were on the direct route between Lou-lan and Miran.


Section IV - List of Antiques excavated or found at the Sites L. L., L. M. and L. R.

This section of 6 pages is description of the items found at these locations.


Section V Across the Ancient Delta of the Kuruk-darya

On 9 February Stein moved northeast from L. M to return to Lou-lan, that is station L.A. where he set up his base. Stein had described this area in Serindia, but did so again in more detail in this section. The route lay across repeated eroded ditches, Yardangs, and sand dunes. They also crossed the dry bed of the branches of the Kuruk-darya. Along the way they again found many stone age implements on the desert floor. They found many Han era items as well. Upon reaching the familiar stupa at Lou-lan on 10 February at night Stein set a big bonfire to guide the camel caravan that lagged far behind. The section is completed by two pages of detailed descriptions of items found along the march route.


Chapter VII - Remains of Ancient Lou-lan

Section I - Work resumed at and around the Lou-lan Site

In this brief section Stein focuses on describing some of the new results, having already thoroughly analyzed the Lou-lan area in Serindia.

Stein began work promptly on the morning of 11 February. His first task was to send most of the camels with Tokhta Akhun to the spring at Altmish-bulak locate to the north at the foothills of the Kuruk-tagh, to recover. He sent Afraz-gul to explore to the north and northeast searching for signs of the caravan route from Tun-huang. Stein notes here that he has already incorporated most of the new information obtained into the text of Serindia, which was completed after his return from this third expedition. But it was this third expedition from which he obtained much of importance. In 1906 he could only discern two of the walls running east north east to west southwest. This time with more opportunity for detailed search he found the two other walls at right angles. (fig 152, 157). Fig151 shows the remains of a large Ya-men-like structure at L.A. ii. On 12 and 13 February he sent detachment to search for more ruins. The rest dug away in the piles of refuse. They found many Chinese documents on wood and paper. 40 more records were uncovered at L A iii. including one in Kharosthi. More rubbish heaps revealed many more finds. His descriptions fill several more pages.


Section II - Miscellaneous Objects found at or near Lou-lan Site L. A.

This section is 5 pages of detailed descriptions of items newly found around Lou-lan. (Note - illustrations of many relics described in this and the other sections are published in volume III of Innermostasia)


Section III - Relics of an Ancient Burial ground

Stein comments that the weather was often 44 degrees below freezing but clear. He sighted the red ridge of the Kuruk-tagh to the north and even the peaks of the Kun-lun far to the south. On 15 February Stein tramped to the northeast to the locations found by Afraz-gul. Two sick Lopliks were left in camp with Ibrahim Beg and the ice depot. Stein and his team had to walk, carrying the essential baggage. They came upon a mesa, shown in plan 12, 56 yards long and 32 yards wide at maximum. The mesa had been selected for a cemetery Stein numbered L.C. Some graves had become exposed by erosion but the significant ones had to be excavated. He immediately found excellent pieces of silk. The graves were all a jumble with bones mixed with boards and fabrics of all kinds. There were also Chinese documents. Stein soon realized that these graves in which not a single intact skeleton was found had actually been the result of a movement of the remains from some other grave sites. Stein describes the graves themselves, their content and the local topography in detail. He dated the removal and reburial to not later than the first part of the 3rd Century AD.


Section IV - The Textile Relics of L. C.

In this section Stein discusses on detail the textiles found in the graves discussed in section III. He notes that the variety of fragments is the result of the Chinese procedure of wrapping the bodies tightly in a mass of used garments and other fabrics. In this case the largest number of fragments were of silk, with wool coming second. The numerous examples have given experts a great trove of different types.


Section V - The Decorative Designs of the L. C. Fabrics

Stein continues here with descriptions of the individual fragments. They represent a wealth of different designs and constitute a selection of the earliest known examples of Chinese silk production. Stein confines himself to discussion of the main types and groups into which these fabrics may be classified. That this section fills 10 pages is indicative of the content, even at the level of generality Stein claims it is.


Section VI - Miscellaneous Sepulchral Deposits and Descriptive List of Antiques from L. C.

In this section he turns to discussion of the other remains found in these graves. Many objects are of personal use. There are trays of food. The section concludes with 13 pages of the usual very detailed descriptions of each numbered individual item.


Section VII - The Ancient Castrum L. E. and the Remains on Mesa L. F.

Stein left the graves for later study and marched on to the northeast. His objective was a fort found earlier during Afraz-gul's reconnaissance. This was numbered L.E. It was about 19 miles from L.A. (fig 162). This fort was identical in construction to the Han wall near Tun-huang, dating it to the second century BC. Its purpose was determined by its location (or reverse) namely to serve as the first fortified post on the Lou-lan side of the caravan route there from Tun-huang. The walls had withstood 2000 years of ceaseless wind erosion. (plan 12). The fort was approximately a rectangle The walls were oriented so that two would lie along the direction of the prevailing wind. The east and west walls were 450 feet long and the north and south walls about 400 feet. The main gate (fig 160) was 10 feet wide and in the southern wall. The walls were of remarkable strong construction. They were built of layers of closely tied fascines of tamarisk twigs a foot thick alternating with strata of stamped clay 5 to 6 inches thick. The salt impregnation resulted in the walls being like concrete. In addition the walls had revetments of longitudinally fixed fascines. The walls appeared to have been about 12 feet thick but in some places as much as 18 feet thick. In places it still rose to 10 feet in height. Stein judged the walls as sufficiently strong to resist any Hun raiding party.

On 16 February Stein and team marched on to mesa L.F. on which Afraz-gul had found some graves. Stein's photo shows this to be an imposing ridge over 100 feet high amid erosion. Once on top they found a wall 5-6 feet thick of clay slabs with gate and a cemetery. The enclosure was 200 by 80 feet. The timber gate remained upright. The refuse in two rooms yielded several documents in Chinese and Kharosthi. The outpost with such a commanding view in all directions was on the direct caravan route from Tun-huang.
The first grave contained a body in remarkable state of preservation. Both the body and its covering clearly identified it as non-Mongolian, a member of the Indo-European tribes that inhabited the region prior to the Chinese arrival. (Such mummies are now displayed in the museum in Urumchi and have generated a lot of discussion about the first inhabitants of Central Asia.) Stein describes the body and clothing and accompanying artifacts but could not remove it. Two more graves were then opened to reveal more non-Mongolian bodies. Stein noted they were members of the indigenous population of Lou-lan. Stein refers to the Former Han Archives in which the descriptions of the inhabitants also indicate they were Indo-European. Stein found many artifacts on and around the mesa including Neolithic tools and Chinese coins.
Stein's survey showed that all these sites were on a straight line to the northeast from Lou-lan, the route he predicted for the caravans from Tun-huang. So he planned to begin his own exploration across the Lop sea in search of that route from station L.E. But first he had to prepare carefully for the dangerous trek. He and his team returned to L. C. and then to Lou-lan (L.A.)


Section VIII - From the Lou-lan Station to Altmish-bulak

Upon his return to L.A. Stein was relieved to find that Lal Singh had arrived from his survey route of over 150 miles of the Kuruk-tagh and Kuruk-darya. And the camels had returned from Astin-bulak. Lal Singh had met Abdurramim in Tikenlik as Stein had requested months earlier. This desert hunter was a master camelman as well, owning 5 magnificent camels that Stein always admired. Lal Singh had found four more cemeteries in the desert before joining Tokta Akhun at Astin-bulak. With all the teams now joined, except Muhammad away doing a level survey up the Su-lo Ho, Stein was ready to move on. First, however, the camels and men needed at least a brief rest at the spring at Altmish-bulak. Stein sent some camels and the Lopliks back to Miran along with cases containing the recent finds. All this plus the baggage previously left at Miran had to be transported on directly to Tun-huang under Ibrahim Beg's supervision. Stein ordered that the caravan from Miran would met his team at the wells of Kum-kuduk. With all plans safely underway by 18 February Stein and his main crew went north-west picking up more coins and bronze items along the way past the stupa. On 19 February Stein sent Abdurramim with the camels on directly toward Altmish-bulak while he detoured with Lal Singh and Afraz-gul to inspect one of the cemeteries Lal Singh had found. A few miles further they found a ruined wood structure. This was on the direct line between Lou-lan and the Kuruk-tagh. A few miles further they found an underground dwelling on a ridge above the surrounding terrain. The room contained three coffins. Lal Singh's discovered cemetery lay another mile to the northwest. Here they found four coffins containing the usual mix of personal items, food and also Chinese silk. With time running out Stein's examination was rushed. Even so they did not make it to Abdurramim's camp until after dark. Thanks to Abdurrahim's going out looking for them, they reached the camp in good order. After another day's march they reached the welcome spring at Altmish-bulak. They found plenty of good ice, timber to melt it with, and extensive reeds and tamarisks for the camels. They spent a few days resting and refreshing for the coming ardurous crossing of the Lop sea. The section ends with a 3 page description of artifacts found during this phase.


Chapter VIII - The Search for the Ancient Chinese High Road

Section I - To the Easternmost Outpost of Lou-lan

Stein's party remained at Altmish-bulak from 21 to 24 February. The coming exploration would be even more dramatic and dangerous than his remarkable journey south across the heart of the Taklamakan to the Keriya River and his long trek through the high mountains and western Tibetan plateau in search of the sources of the rivers flowing to Khotan during his second expedition. Meanwhile Stein was busy planning further operations including a return to map the Kuruk-tagh the following winter. Stein divided the teams in order to accomplish more. His group included Afraz-gul, Shamsuddin, Tokhta Akhun and another Loplik hunter plus camelmen. They had 20 camels, eight for ice, four for fuel, and eight for baggage and provisions for the long trip to Tun-huang. Lal Singh and his three assistants had Abdurrahim and his five remarkable camels. Lal Singh was assigned to survey around the north and northeastern edges of the Lop Sea and the sections of the Kuruk-tagh to the east, while Stein crossed the dry salt sea more directly. They were to meet at Kum-kuduk wells on the Tun-huang caravan route south of the Lop Sea. This was also the place Ibrahim Beg was to bring the other caravan from Miran. Stein expected to complete the crossing in 10 days, but would need to carry not only ice but also the fuel to melt it and cook meals. The camels probably could not survive more than 10 - 12 days. He would have to navigate by compass and dead reckoning. He noted that success depended as much on 'good fortune' as on his careful planning.

They departed Altmish-bulak early on 25 February. Lal Singh and Abdurrahim went east while Stein went south southeast towards L. F. He describes the terrain. They continued on 26 February through mesas, ravines and ridges. They reached the mesa Afraz-gul had previously visited, L. I. bypassing for the time the graves on L.Q. They were forced to halt there in order for Hassan Akhun to resole the camels and rescue one that was foundering. Stein used the time to explore the three mesas L.I. He found evidence of periodic occupation by indigenous herders. He then explored the vicinity looking for evidence of the ancient caravan route. A few miles northeast he found another mesa exactly on the same line as the previously explored sites northeast of Lou-lan with the remains of a much eroded watch tower, designated L.J. He noted that the route to the northeast was by no means direct to Tun-huang but had the advantage of skirting the worst of the dry salt sea.

Stein describes the procedure for sewing bull hide directly onto the skin of the camel's feet which were continually cut by the sharp salt cakes. Another unpleasant task was to administer a dose of rape seed liquid by pouring it down the camel's nose. These required a team of men to hold the camel down and took all together half the night.


Section II - The Location of the 'Town of the Dragon'

Stein and team got an early start on 27 February toward mesa L.J. From the top of L.J. they could see another mesa in the distance at a bearing of N.60 degrees E. so set out for it. Only a mile further on Tursun Akhun, a camelman, saw Chinese coins on the surface. Stein picked up 211 of these coins lying in clumps along a line over a distance of 30 yards and only 3-4 feet wide. What a remarkable find. Stein assumed these must have fallen out of a bag or box carried by a Chinese caravan at night and left in situ for over a thousand years. Apparently this line was slightly off the standard caravan route or the coins surely would have been found at some later date. Further search by Nail Shamsuddin found a batch of bronze arrow heads of Han period type. The location and alignment of this remarkable find assured Stein he was indeed on 'the right track'. It also greatly raised the morale of the Turki followers and their belief that Stein not only knew what he was doing but was guided by benign spirits. They continued on for ten miles moving just south of rows of mesas. After another 18 miles they reached the end of this group of mesas.

Stein again digresses with extended discussion of ancient Chinese records and memoirs. The topic is the identification of a 'Town of the Dragon' prominently mentioned in those accounts. Stein discussed the same topic in Serindia. Another issue is that the ancient Kuruk-darya likely flowed east past Lou-lan and into the sea at its northern corner during centuries prior to its turning south to flow toward the southwest corner. But in any event Stein was sure that the ancient Chinese accounts describing a "Town of the Dragon" referred not to an actual town but to a physical area that might appear in myth as a town. Stein guessed that this unusual line of mesas constituted the real 'town of the dragon.


Section III - Across the Salt-encrusted Lop Sea-bed

They started out at daybreak again on 28 February. Stein had to choose the direction of march. He headed east toward a high mesa. Again, they were lucky to find a Chinese Wu-chu coin within half a mile. On reaching the mesa another unusual discovery took place. One of the men saw three more Wu-chu coins. Beyond that were various Chinese implements and tools of iron or copper plus more coins. All these were confirmed as Han era items. But Stein was at a loss to explain why the objects were there. Stein decided to continue eastward through a series of salt encrusted ridges. The ground soon turned to sharp salt cakes that again hurt the camels' feet. They had to cross many lines of salt-encrusted hills. These forces Stein to alter the direction to N 20 degrees E by South 20 degrees west in order to skirt this trying line of hills. He turned northeast. (He notes at this point that a year later Afraz-gul from the same spot turned southwest and found to open ground within 2 miles. A few miles further they again found better ground so turned back to N 55 degrees E. Again, after a few more miles he turned East. By evening they reached the edge of the flat dry salt sea. Again the night was taken with resoling the poor camels. On 1 March they could see the real dry salt sea before them. They turned S 94 degrees East. They continued across very rough salt cakes. That night one camel failed to continue and had to be shot. On 2 March they moved on toward the southeast. Once across the salt sea they encountered again rows of ridges and hills. Proceeding for another half mile to the south southwest they again came upon a Chinese Wu-chu coin. Amazing luck. They they found a glass bead and further on another coin. Niaz Pawan, one of the two Lopliks, noticed human footprints. These led to yet another coin. Then the footprints led to those of two more men plus a pony and donkey. Stein could not imagine the cause. But that evening Mahmud, one of the camelmen who had been with Lal Singh, recalled a story he heard about a Chinese merchant being robbed by three Khotanese who had fled with his donkey and pony. The mystery was solved. But the fate of these bandits was only imagined, namely that they would surely perish before going too much further into the Lop salt sea.


Section IV - The 'White Dragon Mounds'

Once again Stein digresses into a historical topic. The question is to locate the "White Dragon Mounds" so frequently mentioned in the Ancient Chinese annals. Stein contends that this formation was the line of mesas they passed on 28 February as described above. He quotes and analyzes the account left by Li Tao-yuan and those of various other ancient authors. He adds to this information on the topography obtained by Afraz-gul while conducting his assigned survey starting with the mesa on the west side of the sea the following year.


Chapter IX - To the Su-lo Ho Delta

Section I - By the Eastern Coast of the Dried-up Sea
Stein and party continued on to the south southeast in hopes of avoiding more of the salt terrain that damaged the camels. They soon turned south southwest along the edge of the sea. They found two cairns whose purpose they could not discern. After crossing another inlet of the salt sea they again found the track of the robbers so knew they were on the right route to Yulghun-bulak. They covered 21 miles that day. On 4 March they saw the coming of the buran season. They continued through varied terrain. Then suddenly found the clear line of the Han caravans etched deeply into the salt forming a straight line some 20 feet wide. Evidently the heavy traffic of caravans and carts had crushed the salt blocks into a relatively smooth roadway. They continued to find small objects that indicated they were on the right track of the Chinese caravans. They covered 22 miles that day. On 5 March they continued for a while and then took a brief break to rest all before crossing the next salt sea bay. The stop gave them time for explore the area and soon turned up some pottery and iron items.

They started again early on 6 March. They found tracks of wild camels, the Chinese caravans and of humans. Later on they even found the remains of Lal Singh's camp over the night of 4 March. From the top of a 100 foot high mesa Stein could see the line of mesas near Kum-kuduk. They turned to travel South 150 degrees East. That day they reached the much sought for caravan route. They had been following the track of Lal Singh's cyclometer wheel and it led them to reunion at his established camp site.

Stein and Lal Singh spent the following day studying the latter's plane table survey and report of his journey around the northern and eastern sides of the Lop sea. His route is shown on map 32. The men spent the day watering the camels. On 7 March the caravan with baggage from Miran arrived under Ibrahim Beg's control. Turdi the Dak carrier also brought Stein's usual huge postal mail bag. Among the letters was one from Sir George Macartney confirming that the British Embassy in Peking had arranged for the Chinese government to rescind all orders against Stein's work and replaced them with the opposite, to support him. Lal Singh kept busy as usual with surveys into the high sand dunes.


Section II - The Valley of Besh-toghrak

On 10 March Stein released the camels from Miran and Charchan with their owners. Tokhta Akhun and Niaz departed for home at that time. Turdi carried Stein's mail back to Khotan. The next project was to survey the Lou-lan route beyond the end of the Su-lo Ho eastward toward Tun-huang. Stein wanted to survey the north - right bank - of the river valley as far as Besh-toghrak. For that purpose also Stein had sent Muhammad Yaqub from Miran to perform a level up the river valley. Stein sent Lal Singh and Afraz-gul directly to the northeast from Kum-kuduk. Stein took the heavy baggage by the caravan route as far as Yantak-kuduk. He reported some results already in Serindia. At that point Stein left the camels with baggage to continue along the caravan route while he moved north northeast. He soon found that subsoil water was plentiful. He continues his narrative with detailed descriptions of the terrain, soil and vegetation. On March 13 he was joined at the wells of Besh-toghrak by Lal Singh and Afraz-gul thus completing a survey along both sides of the Su-lo Ho basin. Meanwhile Muhammad Yaqub's level survey up the basin showed Stein that the fall of the land, 4.2 feet per mile, was in agreement with his guess that the Su-lo Ho had earlier flowed clear to the Tarim marshes. All this effort was expended for geographical reasons, to show the relationship of the Su-lo Ho to the Tarim at and around Kum-kuduk.


Section III - An Ancient Terminal Basin

After a day's stop at Besh-toghrak Stein and company set out on 14 March toward the Tun-huang section of the Han wall. He was sure that the ancient Chinese caravan route to Lou-lan followed this route. This section contains Stein's description of his team's survey work during the next few days up to March 16. He tasked Muhammad Yaqub to run a level in order to prove that the Su-lo Ho could have reached the Tarim as noted in previous section and then complete another level. Stein and Lal Singh both made detailed plane table surveys. The section is only 6 pages long but full of details.


Section IV - The Delta of the So-lo Ho

Stein continues with his narrative and analysis of the topography of the lower So-lo Ho. He devoted considerable time and effort to this subject during both expeditions and completed detailed surveys by repeated passages of himself, Afraz-gul and Lal Singh. This is 4 more pages of details. The reason for all this effort is that the question was one of the then current controversial topics being discussed by the various explorers - like the role of Lou-lan - the course of the Kuruk-darya - and the routes west from Tun-huang.


Section V - Transport Problems of the Ancient Lou-lan Route

In this section Stein summarizes the information collected from his extensive surveys to focus on what they reveal about the difficulties the Chinese must have had in moving caravans between Tun-huang and Lou-lan. In this section he marshals all his knowledge of military logistics as well as the evidence he has personally found by crossing the area in question. He describes the conditions along a practical route from east to west - or rather from southeast to northwest. He believes that the supply and maintenance of Chinese garrisons at Lou-lan and beyond was an enormous undertaking. He starts with the locations on the Han wall that he found in 1907 - that is the magazine (depot) building T xviii east of the ancient Yu-men. His discussion on the importance of this building is in Serindia. He discusses the features of the first two day's march from T xviii which lead along the wall to its extreme western end at T iva near Toghrak-bulak. For this distance water and forage was easily available from the Su-lo Ho. and the terrain was hard and passable. But for the next two days the situation was worse. During this march the route crossed the 'Three Ridges Sands'; and the ancient lake bed and ridges of drift sand before arriving near present Besh-toghrak. But water was probably still available. From near Besh-toghrak where there may have been another 'granary' the route would lead along the northern side of the valley. Water was available from wells and there was vegetation for grazing over a distance of 80 miles, or four days march. At that point one would look for the 'Sha-hsi' well. At this point the salt- encrusted bed of the ancient sea is near the foot of the cliffs that mark the old shore line. Stein doubts that there was much if any vegetation beyond that point. But to that point water and forage should have been not too difficult to supply. But at that point difficulties became serious. There was no water or vegetation over a distance of 125 miles. At best this might be shortened by 12 miles by going over a longer stretch of the difficult salt block covered terrain. So there was a problem for supply of water and forage. Compared to today, however, at that time there was the agricultural station at Lou-lan. While today the first oasis is 140 miles further northwest on the Tarim. Moreover, at that ancient time the Kuruk-darya brought water and vegetation eastward at least as far as L. I. Still the requirement was for men and animals and carts to travel for at least 5 days without water, fuel or forage. Stein states that this problem was greater than any modern military has faced. He notes that there are no ancient Chinese reports or records describing in detail how this problem was solved. Yet, he has shown that it was solved. Thus he must offer 'conjectures.
Stein continues by noting that some system of depots and supply bases must have been organized. He refers to one Chinese text and considers that it indicates that supplies were sent east from Lou-lan to some intermediate point at which the caravans could obtain them. But this point would be 50 miles east of Lou-lan station L.I. And it was 25 more miles west from L.I. to the center of Lou-lan at L.A. For the first two long marches from Besh-toghrak the water and forage was probably supplied from that point. He notes also that while water and forage could be obtained there the food and supplies for the men had to come from Tun-huang, over 220 miles further east.

He compares the route to Lou-lan to the still current caravan route between An-hsi and Hami, a road through the dry Pei-shan hills. For the first 9 of its 11 days no local supply can be obtained except for limited water. Yet it is clear that the Chinese military does use this route and in 1877 conducted a major military campaign along it. Then they brought at least 40,000 troops to Hami by stages from Su-chou to An-hsi and then in small units to Hami. He notes that from AD 73 on that was the main route - line of communication - to the Tarim. Comparison of conditions on the An-hsi - Hami road with those from Tun-huang to Lou-lan reveals great difference. Ten day's march across the Pei-shan bring the traveler to the outskirts of a fertile oasis well fitted to serve as a bridge head. On the Lou-lan route ten days of march would still leave the traveler 125 miles away from the nearest water and 150 miles from the Lou-lan cultivated area. Plus, Lou-lan could never provide as much supplies as Hami. Stein suggests that only large caravans of camels could carry sufficient water and forage. But camels cannot be used in the desert from May to August.

Stein refers to the R. E. Field Service Pocket-book by Col Scott-Moncrieff for data on the supply problems when using horses, donkeys and ox drawn carts. (This is similar to the use by authors today when estimating the campaigns of Alexander the Great.)

The calculation is that more than half of the load possibly borne by a mule or horse drawn cart is absorbed by the water and fodder alone needed for the animals. And the remaining load would suffice for four passengers with minimum baggage or for the water and rations required by four mounted men. The daily ration for a horse, mule or ox is 8 gallons weighing about 80 pounds. Then add 8 pounds for fodder per day. Assume a two-horse drawn cart had to cover 125 miles in 5 days with four halts at which water and food had to be carried from the start point. This would mean 640 pounds of water plus 120 pounds for the cask and 64 pounds for fodder. This adds up to 824 pounds out of the possible useful load of 1,344 pounds. Stein considers that use of camels in winter would reduce the problem. And he imagines the possible use of camel drawn carts.

His final assessment; "It is hard to form an adequate conception of the enormous scale of the supply and transport arrangements which such enterprises along the Lou-lan route must have called for, or of the extent of human suffering which these terrible desert wastes must have witnessed. But since the substantial correctness of the contemporary record left by the "Herodotus of China" is not subject to doubt, we must recognize in this conquest of all the formidable difficulties of the desert route one more proof of that wonderful power of organization which likewise enabled Chinese leaders to triumph over nature's greatest obstacles in other regions and other epochs." .


Chapter X - To Tun-huang and An-hsi

Section I - The Limes Line North-west of Tun-huang

In this section Stein describes his work along a section of the Han wall from a point east of the section northwest of Tun-huang that he explored in 1907 to a point more directly north of the town by the southern edge of the Kara-nor lake.

Stein began again on 17 March to locate and excavate the towers and sections of the Han Dynasty wall he had found in 1907 during his second expedition. Then he had explored mostly the wall to its end northwest of Tun-huang and a section to the north-east. His schedule then forced him to leave gaps in his explorations. Since he already published in Serindia much detail on the history of the wall he does not repeat that here. He does include some information provided by M. Maspero from translations of the Chinese documents found in 1907.

On 17 and 18 March he moved from Toghrak-bulak to the tower T xviii that he identified already as a supply magazine for the garrisons on the wall. He made new photos of towers Tiva built on a clay terrace overlooking the depression at which the wall terminated. (fig 194). Fig 190 shows the reed-covered marsh basin in which the Su-lo Ho terminates as seen south of Tiva and shows the beginning of the wall.

Figure 204 shows tower T vii. Figures 193 and 198 show stacks of reed fascines near watch towers T xi and Txiii. Fig 195 shows tower T xiii and remains of rooms adjacent. (same tower is in fig 180 of Serindia). Having excavated at the towers toward the western end of the wall in 1907, Stein focused on the towers next to the Kara-nor lake further east starting with tower T xiid. Starting with that tower Stein moved along the southern shore of Khara-nor. Were ever the Chinese engineers could count on the lake or a wide marsh-bed to prevent raiders they economized on wall building and spaced the towers only to provide distant observation. The wall could be traced for 10 miles. directly east from Tower xxii c to tower xxiii b.

About the middle of the length of the lake shore there was a prominent ridge which reduced the width of the lake but also provided a high plateau. There were three watch towers T xxii d to f within a distance of 2 miles.

Tower Txxii d (fig 199) is on eroded clay about 80 feet above the marsh to the west. The tower was 16 feet square and even ruined remained 9 feet high. It was built of sun dried brocks 14 x 7.5 inches and 4 inches thick. There were thin layers os straw between every fourth course of bricks. Adjacent to it were the remains of three rooms one of which likely was used as a stove to heat the others. The tower provided an usual mass of refuse from which Stein obtained Chinese documents including one dated 16 December 47 AD. signed by Tsung-min and Shou-kuan, the former was from the P'o-hu of the barrier, likely the name of a section of the wall

Another 3/4 mile east was another ridge, 90 feet high, on which was tower Txxii c. It was 14 feet square and 9 feet high on which was the remains of a 6 foot square room. The tower was built of sun-dried bricks 14 x 7 x 4 inches with reed layers between every 5th course. It commanded a wide view across and along the lake - towers T xxiiic and Txxiiie being visible. Again the refuse yielded Chinese documents on wood. One document was instructions on the fire signals

Less than a mile to the north-east of T xxiie was a belt of erosion terraces curving round from T xxiii with another tower Txxiif. This one was similar but 16 feet square at the base with a guard room at a height of 8 feet being 7 feet square. .There was an entrance through a narrow passage in the south-east corner. More refuse revealed more Chinese records including a part of a calendar for the year 13 B.C. The tower T xxiif was on a terrace that provided a full view of the lake shore. There was no wall for the next 5 miles eastward along the lake shore. But the gap between T xxii f and T xxiii b was not completely unguarded. There were two small towers, T xxiii and T xxiiia at the end of the plateau adjacent to the lake..

The group of towers T xxiii b to g and the wall connecting stretches of ridges was found to be marshy on March 20-22.

On March 21 Stein moved camp to a spring-feed pool at Chien-ch'uan-tzu. For this section Stein found a ancient road sunken 3 or 4 feet below the adjacent ground level. It was obviously the result of much traffic passing by over centuries. He discusses the history of the area and the various names that Chien-ch'uan-tzu had in Chinese records over the centuries. Those records describe the 'brackish spring' in practically the same condition as Stein found it.

About 2.5 miles ENE of Tower T xxiiia is another tower T xxiiib on an eroded ridge 50 feet high. The line of the wall here is much eroded coming from T xxiiic to the east. T xxiiib is 16 feet square and 13-14 feet high built of bricks 14 x 7 x 4 inches. Fragments of tapestry and rug were found here. Almost a mille and half due east of T xxiiib is a 90-foot high mesa on which is tower Txxiiic. There was much pottery in the refuse. The wall here extended through the depression and right up the side of the mesa. It was then extended round the end of the mesa. T xxiii c is a well preserved tower built of layers of stamped and 14.5 feet square at its base. It remained intact to a height of 15 feet. The eastern face of the tower showed foot-holes flanked on either side by smaller holes intended to afford a grip for persons climbing to the top. On the northern side there adjoined a room about 13 feet square with walls built of brick and about 1 foot, 8 inches thick. The wall facing to the north stood to 8 feet height but that to the west was much broker and that to the east practically destroyed from the prevailing east wind.

From the northwest corner of this tower the Han wall was 8 feet thick and turned to the south-west toward a knoll as high as that of the tower but steeper. The knoll was a natural defense on which the wall had a gap of 30 feet. Past this the wall was built of bricks of 14 x 7 x 4 inches and was 3 feet thick. The wall continued down the far side over a steep slope for 27 more feet. This Stein noted was the only section of the wall that he found built of brick masonry. Beyond that stretch the wall was again built of reed fascines and clay toward the south-west for a further 90 feet, then turned west-north-west toward tower T xxiiib.

The area by the tower on the high knoll was covered with much pottery debris showing lengthy occupation. From the usual refuse Stein found Chinese records on wood and various small objects including two bronze arrow heads. Tower T xxiii c had a fragment of a calendar dated year 4 B.C.

A mile and half north of this tower was another, T xxiii e outside the line of the wall itself. It guarded the lake shore which could not be seen from tower T xxiii c. But boggy ground prevented Stein from reaching T xxiii e. That tower served an important purpose in covering an angle section of wall. While the guard on T xxiii c could not see the close area under the edge of the mesa he could see very widely at a long distance to the north-east to where the Su-lo-Ho joined by branches of the Tang-ho entered Khara-nor.

From tower T xxiii c the decayed wall went south-east towards a 100 foot high mesa at a distance of a mile. Over this distance the wall was nothing but an earthen mound. On that mesa was a completely decayed tower T xxiii d. There was much pottery debris all around. These were later dated to Tang and Sung eras. At tower T xxiii d the wall turned ENE for another mile to another clay ridge on which at 35 feet above the adjacent terrain there was tower T xxiii f (fig 202). This was built of lumps of clay with layers of thin Toghrak branches between them. It was 14 feet square at the base and remained to a height of 16 feet. The ridge had been widened by a built up area of a clay platform. About 6 feet from the tower was a well, 3 feet in diameter. Again, there was much refuse all around from which Stein found more Chinese documents on wood and other various items.

From tower T xxiii f the wall turned to the south-east for another 7 miles, but at less than a mile was tower T xxiii g on a 30 foot high terrace. . Station T xxiii g was a tower with a chamber 7 feet square between thick walls of bricks but broken down to only 5 feet high. The entrance was on the south-at corner. The Han wall passed at a distance of ab out 20 feet to the north. Only a small amount of refuse was found there. A mile further the wall passed another isolated clay terrace about 15 feet high that formerly had held another tower, but only pottery remained. The wall continued for another 2 miles across depressions full of reeds. The wall was again found on another hell - with Tower T xxiii h (pl 16). This one had a base of 16 feet square and was built of bricks 14 x 7 x 4 inches to a height of 11 feet. The upper portion had a guard room 8 feet square. Over the next mile Stein found three more watch towers T xxiii i, j, and k along the wall. These were all built like T xxiii h. But Stein did not have time to excavate those three towers on 22 March. From tower T xxiii l Stein had to move rapidly onward due to shortage of water. But T xxiii l was a brick tower of the same dimensions and appearance as the others. The guard room was 6 feet square. entered by a narrow passage on the south (plan 14). It was full of refuse to 4 feet deep. Stein recovered over 2 dozen Chinese documents on wood. Among these were instructions on signal fires.. Two posts were named as Wei-hu Chih-k'ou. A refuse heap was also found outside in which there were an additional 3 dozen records.

Stein continued on and reached decayed towers T xxiii m and n. each 3/4 mile apart. The wall continued toward the south-east. Stein noted the towers were not in a straight line, which he guessed might be due to enabling visibility of each tower if they were not right behind each other. Beyond these the wall disappeared in marshy terrain. Further on was tower T xxiii o on the end of a low terrace. Its bricks remained to a height of 15 feet. Again refuse yielded more Chinese documents. The wall continued over gravel past low mounds remaining of towers T xxiii p and Txxiii r to the east to tower T xxiii s. But Tower T xxiii q remained to a height of 12 feet. T xxiii s was 17 feet high and both were of usual brick masonry - the former had reeds between every 2 courses and the latter had them between every 5 courses.

Stein continued to Tower T xxiii t to the east-south-east about a mile and half away. The direct route was blocked by a sheet of water and a bog. Stein moved on 23 March toward the south toward Tun-huang. On March 24 they continued next to marshes and found two more towers. One was named Txxiii u and measured 29 feet square at the base. It was likely meant as a refuge place for local farmers. It was old but not part of the Han wall defenses. The wall probably continued east from T xxiii t to join the section Stein had explored in 1907 to T xxx. The second, smaller, tower was even more recent. Stein continued on to the high walls of Tun-huang.


Section II - Tun-huang and the 'Caves of the Thousand Buddhas' revisited

Stein could not remain in Tun-huang more than a few days despite the urgent need for rest for his team and camels because he had to hurry on to explore the desert north of Su-chou before the summer heat made that too difficult. He found that his former friend, Wang Ta-lao-yeh, had been replaced as magistrate at the Hsein-kuan Ya-men. The new official was much less helpful. But the new military commandant was Shuang Ta-jen, who had been Stein's helpful official at Chia-yu kuan in 1907. Stein's hired Chinese interpreter, Li Ssu-yeh, proved more and more worthless.


Section III - By the Han Limes to An-hsi

In this section Stein returns to the Han wall north of Tun-huang at a point he had found it north-east of the town in 1907 and explores it eastward toward An-hsi

On 8 April Stein departed Tun-huang toward An-hsi with the objective of locating more of the Han wall than he had found in 1907. Meanwhile Lal Singh was surveying toward the south into the Nan-shan eastward and then north to An-hsi. Muhammed Yaqub was to survey down the Tang-ho to its confluence with the Su-lo Ho and then turn east along the right (north) bank to An-hsi. The main load of heavy baggage went directly to An-hsi while Stein moved north to find the wall. He planned to start at tower T xxxv where he had stopped in 1907.

Stein had to avoid treacherous terrain in several locations created by underground drainage from the Nan-shan emerging to create salt-bogs. He continued on April 10th hurrying to reach water. Finally he found the evidence of the wall, in a straight line of low ridge only 3-4 feet high but clearly man made. But they had to hurry on north to reach the Su-lo Ho by nightfall. They reached to river to camp and replenish their water supply. The next morning Stein turned back south-west to find the wall. They found the low but straight mound when practically falling on it. It was about 4 feet high but 32 feet wide. They found a mound that was all that remained of a tower designated T xxxvii a. The construction here was inferior to that Stein found further west. But there were no signs of ruined watch towers further west. Turning east Stein followed the wall and found that it rose to a height of 9 and 12 feet in alternating layers of clay and brush wood. There were sections that evidenced efforts to burn the wall. A mile east they found another decayed mound designated T xxxvii b. At another half mile they found another tower Txxxvii c built of stamped clay. This one had a remaining square base 20 feet but most of the northern and eastern faces were decayed. The remaining height reached 14 feet. The wall continued to the east with a height of 6 to 8 feet composed of layers of brushwood. The next watch tower was reached after 2 more miles. This one, T xxxvii d was only a mound, but the wall made its usual semi-circle to the north around it at a distance of 50 yards. Further the wall continued in a direction of S 97 degrees E. They found another decayed tower T xxxvii e and then stopped for the night in order to find the camp that had been set up by the river.

On 12 April Stein returned to the line of the wall, south of the river. They found another tower, Txxxvii f that had a height of 18 feet and was 18 feet square at the base. Its construction was unusual, being formed of an outer casing of stamped clay with an interior of natural clay. Wooden beams had been fixed into square holes cut into the natural clay and then the stamped clay had been built up around these beams. There was evidence of signal fires having been set on the top. No significant refuse was found. Its location puzzled Stein. He could not find a clear trace to the south-west toward tower Txxxvii e. Stein searched all around and finally found the Han wall again a mile and half to the east-south-east of T xxxvii f. But at this location he found two lines of wall about 90 yards apart. These then united a half mile to the southeast at T xxxvii h, a decayed tower. Stein decided that the two segments had been built to rectify the defense near a pre-existing dike that was evident joining them. He considered this more evidence of the hasty and relatively poor construction methods employed for this section of the wall.

From tower T xxxvii h the wall continued for a mile and half to T xxxvii i. This tower was also nothing but a mound of clay. But 30 yards west of it and within the wall here was the remains of a small cell in better condition. This was 6 feet 3 inches square with masonry walls to a height of 2-3 feet. The bricks were 9 x 6 x 4 inches. This appeared to be a small shrine.

at T xxxvii i the line of the wall took a sharp turn to the north-east. After another mile there was another clay mound remanent of a tower. Then the line continued in the same direction for another mile and quarter to another ruin T xxxvii k. The wall rose to a height of 6 to 8 feet in places. From T xxxvii k the wall turned due east toward a large tower some mile away. This one appeared new, but might have been built from an earlier tower. Along this stretch the wall was again different. It was two narrow walls of earth and fascines about 6 feet apart with the space between filled with loose earth. All this section had been decayed by moisture. By this time Stein had reached cultivated ground at Erh-kung. Further east they could find only a short section of decayed wall amid the cultivated area so abandoned the search and proceeded to An-hsi.

Further on they found again the series of towers Txxxviii a to c that they had found near An-hsi in 1907. ( tower T xxxviii a, shown in Fig 215 and described in Serindia.)

At this point Stein had completed his project to fill the gaps in his exploration of the Han wall between its western end at An-hsi and along the south bank of the Su-lo Ho. He had used An-hsi already twice and again made it a storage depot for his antiques and baggage. Lal Singh also arrived from the Nan-shan to the south. Two days later Muhammed Yaqub arrived from his survey along the north bank of the Su-lo Ho.


Chapter XI - In Search of the Limes to Su-chou

Section I - The Limes Line North of the Su-lo Ho

Stein remained at An-hsi from 14 to 17 April to tend to preparations for further explorations and accomplish correspondence. He notes that An-hsi despite its small development has been since the first century AD the key location for departure from the Su-chou area to the northwest to Hami and beyond to the Tarim. It is still the end of the main Chinese main highway along that route. (See Serindia.) Stein's next objective was to find the Han wall to the east of An-hsi and the north of Su-chou a section he did not have time to explore in 1907. He wanted to find the Han wall all the way to the east where it would generally meet with the much later Ming Great Wall. Further, he wanted to explore the Etsin-gol river northward to Mongolia and see the lost city at Kara-khoto, recently discovered by the Russian explorer, Colonel Kozlov. And he had to accomplish both before the heat of summer would make such efforts impossible.

(Stein was always eagerly competing with the many other European explorers who were criss crossing Central Asia at that time.).

He left all possible baggage at the An-hsi Ya-men with Ibrahim Beg. At An-hsi Stein obtained the services of Zahid Beg, a Mongol interpreter, who knew Turki as the locals along the Etsin-gol were Mongol nomads. He sent Muhammed Yaqub on directly by the main road with other baggage to Su-chou. Stein and the others departed An-hsi on 18 April by crossing the Su-lo Ho to follow the right bank between the river and the slopes of the Pei-shan mountains. By the second day they reached the location where the Su-lo Ho passes through a defile near Hsiao-wan. Stein had passed this same spot but on the left bank in 1907. He noted then that at this location the Han wall crossed the river and continued east on the north bank. In 1907 he had found sections of the wall to the east along the north bank. Now he wanted to fill the gaps in exploration.

The defile through which the Su-lo Ho forces its way west is between offshoots of the Pei-shan to the north and outer ridges of the Nan-shan to the south. At this point the main high road to the south of the river crosses a ridge 200 feet above the river. There, not surprisingly, it is guarded by two Chinese fort towers. Now Stein found a tower T xl a near the river and almost opposite the two modern towers on the other side. (plan 14) It is a small walled enclosure about 19.5 feet square inside with a tower 8.5 feet high in the north-east corner. It is built of the usual bricks 13 x 7 x 4 inches. The walls are strengthened by later construction. About 2 more miles to the east he found another tower, T xl b. And a third tower, T xl c was on the top of a high hill projecting from the Pei-shan overlooking the river from the north. About half way to T xl b Stein found a section of the wall itself at a bearing of S 100 degrees E near the defile. It was about 34 feet wide and 8-9 feet high. Along the north side there was a ditch from which the wall earth had been dug. Stein reached tower T xl b a short distance north of the wall and on higher ground. It was exactly like the towers near Tun-huang. It was 20 feet square at the base on 26 feet high. It was built of solid layers of stamped clay 6 inches thick. From there Stein climbed the 300 foot high spur north of the defile. From there he had an extensive view of the entire defile and the valley to the east as far as the large fort at Bulungir. To the north he could see the Pei-shan hills and to the west the gravel plain toward An-hsi. The tower T xl c on the summit was in a perfect location to provide observation. It was built of bricks with layers of tamarisk brushwood after each 3 courses. It was 23 feet square at base and remained 13 feet high. The south and southwest sides had collapsed due to the slope itself subsiding. On the east face one course of bricks was laid vertically between two courses horizontally. There was an observation post 4 feet wide on top in which Stein found Han era Chinese documents.

Returning down the spur Stein and team found the wall again to the east of T xl b. There it was constructed of layers of gravelly earth and tamarisk brushwood. It followed the slope of the hills that line the north side of the defile only 200 yards from the river bed. There the wall was commanded by the crest of the hills that rose 100 to 150 feet above it. This indicates that this section of wall was intended not for military defense but only to secure greater safety to border police. Where the wall descended closer to the river its brushwood layers had completely decayed. Searching back west Stein found the wall formed by the gravel mound straight to tower xl a and 20 feet high.

On April 20th Stein crossed the river to the left bank. The Su-lo Ho was about 4 yards wide and 3 feet deep as the flood season had not yet begun. he measured flow at 1,600 cubic feet per second. On the river's left bank below camp 122 they found the mouth of a small Nullah from the Wan-shan-tzu spur occupied by a ruined temple. These spurs form an ideal site for defensive fortification, especially before the Han wall was extended west to Tun-huang. This location may have been a site for the "Jade Gate' prior to its move west and then much later back to Chia-yu-kuan. Stein insists that the Wan-shan-tzu defile is the ideal location for a defense and frontier gate. He notes that the Chinese established a large garrison at Bulungir or Pu-lung-chi 10 miles to the east.

Returning to the line to the east on the right bank in less than a half mile they found the wall again where it passes between two low ridges at the south-eastern end of the spur previously visited and described. They could trace it clearly for 120 yards as a double embankment. The southern wall was 24 feet wide and 10 feet high, the northern wall was less wide and only 5-6 feet high. They were about 44 feet apart. Further on the wall was lost in soft loess near the river bed. A few miles further on they found the remains of another tower, Txli a on a wide terrace. Stein had seen this one in 1907 from the south side of the river and visited by Lal Singh that year. It was built of layers of stamped clay and was 20 feet square at base. The northern face had fallen and the rest split in two. With this evidence Stein was assured that the Han wall was built close to the Su-lo Ho. But no trace of the wall was found in the thick vegetation. However, they did find another tower high above a bend in the river. This was numbered Txli b. It was of layers of stamped clay and still rose to 29 feet on a base of 20 feet square. By use of ropes and the foot holes built into it one of the men reached the top where he found a wooden spoon and some other fragments. There was plenty of Han pottery around the base. There was an enclosure some 27 feet along the northern side and had joined the tower on the west side.

Going another 2 miles east across bare clay they found another terrace which had been converted into a tower Txli c by simply cutting and digging out the clay on four sides. This also was 20 feet square and 21 feet high. There were many Han potsherds all around. The 10 feet high wall itself passed around the west, north and east sides of this natural clay tower at a distance of 32 - 36 feet.

On April 21 Stein and party continued east. Another tower, Txli d, was found only another mile and half east. This one of stamped clay was only 30 yards from the river bank. Wind erosion had cut down the northern foot. The remaining tower still had a height of 28 feet. After another mile and half across the wind-eroded clay plain between the river and ridge they found another rocky ridge jutting out toward the river. On a small hillock some 30-40 feet high there were remains of another watch tower, but only the base of about 2-3 feet high remained. But the refuse did contain Han dated remains. After another mile they came to tower T xli f. This was on the top of a detached hill about 150 feet above the river level. This one had a loop-holed parapet but was clearly Han era, although enlarged to the east, south and west by additional masonry. In this the bricks were set vertically in Kan-su style The original tower was solid with bricks of 15 x 10 x 4 inches and reed layers between the courses at 3 feet 6 inch intervals. The base was 24 feet square. The added later masonry of bricks 14 x 6.5 x 3 inches increased the size to 32 feet square. The height was 32 feet. There were the usual foot-holes on the southern face. The tower commands an excellent view along the river to east and west. A careful search all around found rubbish about 20 feet down the slope and 2 feet thick. Many remains were retrieved as shown in Stein's included listing. There was a small enclosure (T xli g) at the foot of the hill. But the refuse in it showed it was modern.

Further to the east Stein found remains of the wall again. But it soon disappeared likely due to wind erosion. Again, further yet, they did find another section of decayed wall further north a mile away from the river. And there they also found another tower, T xli h. But there was not much in or around it.


Section II - From Ch'iao-wan-ch'eng to Shih-erh-tun

Before even reaching tower T xli h Stein saw the ruined walls of a small fortified town destroyed in the Tungan rebellion. He had noticed it in the distance while passing on the high road south of the river. The first name for it given him was Ch'iao-wan-ch'eng but later he also learned a name - P'eng-chia'chuang. Either way it was an impressive fortification even though now ruined. It had massive walls of stamped clay forming a rectangle of 380 yards by 135 yards. The southern wall was within 100 yards of the river. There were large vaulted gates of brickwork in both south and north walls and both were protected by square outworks also entered by gates. (Fig 217). There were broad straight streets between the gates. In town center they were crossed by another main street. The many well built houses were nor roof-less. Some monks lived in one house. There was also a decayed temple containing some statues. The gates had ornamental pavilions above and these were also above the corner towers. No locals could inform Stein about the date at which the fortress had been built, but Stein guessed from its location far west of the Ming wall that it was from the later Manchu era. This location enabled it to guard the camel caravan route across the Pei-shan from Hami to the river. But caravans using carts could not use that route but had to pass through An-hsi. Outside the fortified town there remained the ruins of suburbs which had once supported the garrison. It also had its wall, but one much inferior to the fortress. Once the town was destroyed caravan route shifted to reach the river further east. There was a large temple in ruins about 150 yards from the northern gate. A further 100 yards north Stein found the remains of the Han wall as it passed east to west in a straight line on the bare gravel to a height of 3-4 feet. Next to it there were two parallel walls with a course between them. A local guide explained to Stein that this was a training ground for mounted soldiers practicing musket fire.

Further along the wall Stein found the point at which the caravan route to Hami crossed, about 350 yards northwest of the fortress. There he saw a row of five small stupas north of the wall and another group of three south of the wall. Nearby was a larger modern memorial temple shrine occupied by Tibetan Lamas. Stein remarks that he continually drew attention to the Chinese practice of establishing shrines at places where trade routes crossed a wall. The spot were the caravan route to Hami was exactly half way between towers Txli h and Txli i, each a mile west or east respectively. At those distances, Stein guesses that originally there would have been a tower with gate at the crossing point. He presumed that the garrison for the fort was established in the early 18th century. He presumed that this location was selected as the best to which supplies could be delivered from Su-chou.

Stein analyzes the tactical and topographic reasons for placing the Han wall and the later fortress north of the Su-lo Ho rather than south of it where one might consider the river itself as part of the defense. He notes that the river all along this stretch is easily fordable throughout and thus no barrier, but from north of the line of the Han wall there is nothing but desert ridges of the Pei-shan with no water for many miles. Thus the Chinese engineers wanted to guard the river's water itself from enemy use rather than rely on the river as a defense. In cases of both the Han wall and the Manchu fortress the fortification system was part of the expansionary policy pushing Chinese power west into Central Asia. Furthermore along this eastern part of the river basin there was cultivated ground right up to the southern side of the river, while further west there was no such ground but only desert with Tun-huang located much further from the river.

On April 22nd Stein resumed exploration to the east. Another mile on he found another watch post with walls 3 feet thick of bricks 14 x 9 x 3 inches. More relics were retrieved there. The low mound of the wall continued for more miles eastward. There was another tower, Txli j at a mile and another, Txli jj after a further mile. There and further eastward wind erosion had nearly destroyed both wall and towers. After four miles they found another ruined remains of a watch post T xli k. Another mile of mound (wall) was passed to reach tower, T kli l. At this one Stein found several small brick stupas Beyond this tower the wall was again lost on the hard clay surface. They found a tower, Txli m further south of the expected line but determined that it was a much later construction. Stein and team turned south to regain the river where it makes is 90 degree bend from north to west. There they found a tower T xli n of stamped clay 12 feet square where the caravans halt at a village called Ma-ku-t'an. From there they turned back northeast to reach another tower on the Han wall line. This was T xli o (fig 212). It was constructed of stamped clay on a base 32 feet square. It was about 50 yards north of the Han wall. Another tower T xli p was seen to the northeast on rising ground.

Stein followed the wall line to the southeast from T xli o. They found sections as high as 5-6 feet in three places a quarter mile apart. After 3 miles they reached tower Txli r built of bricks 14 x 9 x 7 inches. Next to it was a guard room only 6 feet square.

From there Stein continued on across soft ground liable for flooding. After another mile and half they found a low rocky ridge on which were towers T xlii a to d above the village, Shih-erh-tun. Stein had briefly visited the area in 1907. The team halted at the village for a rest day. Stein found the remains of the Han wall continued along a succession of low narrow ridges of the Pei-shan range overlooking the Su-lo river valley. About 300 yards along the ridges he found w T xlii a. It was on a small rocky hill about a furlong south of the rampart itself and at a height of 50 feet above the plain. It commanded like towers T xlii b to d stretched eastwards. The tower was of stamped clay with thin layers of reeds between each layer. It was in great decay and was only 10 feet high.

For another 3/4 mile the wall went towards another rocky hill where they was a completely decayed clay mount about 12 e high that was tower T xlii b. They found lots of Han pottery there and a Wu-chu coin. From tower T xlii b which was directly behind the remains of the wall, the wall was traced clearly for another mile across stony ground but was then lost eastwards in a belt of sandy soil. Layers of brushwood were exposed along the sides of the wall. The rampart nowhere more than 4 - 5 feet high was about 14 feet wide on top. This section of Han wall was guarded by two towers, T xlii c and T lii d. Tower t xlii c was made of stamped clay with reinforcing layers of reeds. It was 20 feet square plus later additions and 14 feet high. The west face additions had fallen away. And directly south of the wall was the remains of a small fort.. Stein makes special note of the two towers being so close together, deciding that the view from T xlii d was blocked. Tower T xlii d had been repeatedly repaired and added to. (fig 216 in which it is behind the small fort). It was 33 feet square at base counting the additions. It was 13 feet high. There were 5 small, new P'ao-tas along the ridge to the east. On a rocky terrace some 30 feet below T xlii d was the small fort enclosure. This was 58 feet from east to west inside and 46 feet across. The walls were 18 feet high excluding the parapet of bricks measuring 12 x 8 x 4 inches and probably of later construction. A large section of the west wall was fallen. There were no remains inside the fort. Its massive walls and location showed its antiquity. (plan 14). The plan shows the route leading from the village toward T xli o and on toward Hami passes close below this small fort and so does the route that leads to Ch'iao-wan-ch'eng. The village no doubt was the last cultivated spot before the caravan route to Hami crossed the desert the location of a defensive fort to serve as a 'gate' is logical. The fort was known as "Hsiao-fang-p'an or the small protective camp." Moreover, there is a typical small shrine at the junction of the two caravan routes near the wall.


Section III - Hua-hai-tzu and Its Limes Remains

On 24 April Stein continued east from Shih-erh-tun. Only a half mile on from tower T xlii d the wall was lost on low ground in reeds. They continued in the same direction towards T xlii e a tower visible from the village and came again to the wall making a straight line of reed fascines. Near tower T xlii that was about 2 miles further the wall rose to a height of 6 feet. From there on east it remained clearly visible for 12 more miles. Across this distance the wall was built of alternate layers of reed fascines and stamped clay. . Along that stretch they found towers T xllii e to j all of similar original construction and also showing later additions and repairs. The caravan route to Su-chou is only a mile south of the wall. They were built of stamped clay and are from 22 to 28 feet square at the base. The heights vary between 18 and 25 feet including brick parapets of later construction. Each tower now is on the north-western or north-eastern corner of a later walled enclosure (tower T xlii f in fig 214). The enclosures are also built of stamped clay 3.25 to 4 feet thick but less solid than the towers. They form enclosures of 60 - 62 feet. They showed wind erosion on their western sides. Little refuse was found in these but there were Han potsherds plus later pottery.

Beyond T xlii j the wall could be seen for about another mile but then disappeared in a depression. From there they turned southeast to reach a well. Across the depression and on another high ridge they found a large conical tower about 200 feet above the marsh. This was built of layers of clay reinforced with large trunks of poplar and was 33 feet square at the base. At 12 feet the top had a small look-out platform. The tower had a very fine view to the north and northwest.

On 25 April Stein sent the baggage on to Ying-p'an, a small walled oasis town, and rode with Lal Singh and a few helpers to the north to search for the wall. They found so much that it took two days to collect it all. They found the wall across a wide plateau trending from west-north-west to east-south-east. In parts it was eroded by wind. But there were many segments that still rose nearly intact to height of 6-7 feet. It was built of alternate layers of stamped clay and fascines, each 8 to 10 inches thick. The clay layers were very hard. The wall was about 5 feet wide at the top. With the wall itself so well preserved Stein was glad to find also other remains. The first tower, Txliii a was decayed to a mound but had many potsherds around and from a refuse heap they found wooden slips inscribed in Chinese. and much else. Two records mentioned Chinese convicts exiled to frontier service.

Another half mile to the south-east they found the remains of a potter's kiln. Another half mile on they found tower T xliii b (fig 223). It was 11 feet high, built of bricks 15 x 8 x 5 inches and was 16 feet square at the base. It had been enlarged to 20 feet wide but the outer brick casing had fallen away revealing the original white plaster on the wall. The next two towers, T xliii c and d were only mounds. At T xliii d there was a row of eight low mounds as spacing of 30 - 50 yards. Another mile further there was another tower T xliii e now only a mound about 15 feet high and 22 yards across of layers of clay and brushwood. Many Han era potsherds were found. Another mile they came to the mound of tower T xliii f were the wall turned to due east. The wall could be seen for another mile as a clay bank 3-4 feet high. Then the line of the wall disappeared for 3 miles where they found a low mound with tower T xliii g only 5 feet high. A coin, arrow head and a few other items were found. They could not see any wall further on but found tower T xliii h on a hill about 30 feet high and 50 feet in diameter. A section of wall was there. From there then found tower T xliii j further east.

On 26 and 27 April Stein continued to excavate along the wall. At tower Txliii h they found 16 more Chinese records and other items. Two documents were dated 39 BC and 13 AD. They continued to towers Txliii g and T xliii i about a mile apart with T xliii h between them. But they could find no trace of the wall itself by the two western ones. At T xliii i on a hill the wall appeared. Nine more Chinese records were found. Beyond that tower the wall again was 5-6 feet high (fig 220). Another mile on a mound south of the wall was the remains of tower T xliii j. Only the east wall remained. But 24 Chinese documents were recovered.

The next tower to the east, Txliii k, was a half mile further. Originally of stamped clay and reeds, it had decayed to a mound But more relics and documents were found there. Some dates were 56 BC, 21 BC, 86 BC, 48 BC, and 89 AD. At that tower the wall was in good repair and its line changed direction to east-north-east. The next tower, Txliii l was 24 feet high (fig 221). It also had been repaired and added to later. There was also a later enclosure. This wall was formed of stamped clay 4 feet thick and on the south face remained at 10- feet high. As so often the west face was completely eroded. While built during the Han dynasty as part of the entire wall, this post remained in use into medieval times. Northwest of T xliii l at a distance of 40 yards there were the foundations of four small buildings constructed against the wall. They were 13 feet north to south and at intervals of 18 feet. Perhaps these were shelters for the guards. Beyond tower T xliii l the wall was seen to the east for half a mile.


Section IV- The Limes traced East of Hu-hai-tzu

On 28 April Stein left camp at the springs of Hsiao-ch'uan-tzu headed east-south-east along the caravan route to Su-chou. On 29 April Stein and Lal Singh searched again for the Han wall. Lal Singh found it about 8 miles north and Stein found it with towers to the northeast. The northernmost tower was T xliv a about 5 miles north of their camp. Then they found the wall about 5 miles further north amid a mass of tamarisk cones. (fig 219) The wall was only a low mound in drift sand but was 9 feet wide and still 4 feet high. It was composed only of bundles of wood. The wall disappeared again toward the east and west under sand dunes. It appeared again several more miles to the west where it was 10 feet high and 6.5 feet wide (fig 218). Here also it was built only of bundles of tamarisk wood. They found no more towers along that section. Stein believed the construction was due to lack of water. And subsequent guards would have been stationed at posts further south. To the east they later managed to trace the wall for 45 miles clear to the Pei-ta-ho river. Leaving the wall to return south for four miles they found another mound about 70 feet long and 35 wide. There was an enclosure some 94 yards square built of brushwood bundles (Txliv e, plan 16).

Returning to discuss tower Txliv a Stein notes again that it was the northern most tower in this section and was distinct from the wall. It was 32 feet square at the base and 14 feet high, built on a low plateau of gravel. It was built of layers of clay 6-7 inches thick and brushwood layers between. There was a small structure on the east side. There was much refuse to clear in which they found 7 Chinese records on wood and other items including a coin and bronze arrow head. Less than 3 miles to the south-east they found tower Txliv b (fig 222). It was 21 feet high and 27 feet square. There was little wind erosion. The top of the tower was covered with straw and refuse. Two Chinese tablets were found. There were two dozen Chinese documents in the refuse. Dates found were for 62 and 112 AD. Names of individual officers and of units were given.

Continuing south east for another mile and half they found the decayed post with foundations of a clay tower T xliv c about 16 feet square with a room next to it. The southern wall alone of the room survived to a height of 3 feet of bricks 15 x 8 x 4 inches. The refuse contained three Chinese records on wood and a bronze arrow head. A fourth watch tower, T xliv d was seen about 3 miles to the south east. It was of bricks in decent preservation 16 feet square and 14 feet high. There was a guard room on top with walls 3 feet high. Ten more wood Chinese records were found.

They found another tower, T xliv f about 16 feet square and 8 feet high about half way between T xliv c and the well at Ko-ta-ch'uan-tzu. It was built of bricks 10 x 7 x 4 inches - that is different from the usual size and possibly of later date. It was out of the straight line between towers T xliv a to d. Clearly the four watch towers were built during the time of the Han wall but they were located rather far from the line of the wall as found by Stein. Stein guessed that either these were to protect the route between Su-chou and the wall or were built so far back due to lack of water along the wall itself. Stein was unable to trace the wall between the section described here and a section further east by towers Txlv a to h near the Pei-t-ho river.

At that point Stein deputized Lal Singh to try to find traces of the wall further east. On 1 May he had to rush south to accomplish business in Su-chou to prepare for the expedition to Khara-khoto. Along this route he passed many great towers, but these were a part of the Ming Great Wall complex. He passed through the Great Wall at Huang-ts'ao-ying that he had visited in 1907. He illustrated a Great Wall tower at fig 224 Although some 15 centuries separates this tower from the Han wall the construction is practically identical. It still has the footholes for climbers.


Chapter XII - From Su-chou to the Limes of Mao-mei

Section I - The Limes along the Pei-ta-ho

Stein returned to his same quarters of 1907, the pavilions of the temple at Chiu-ch'uan (Fountain of Wine" in Su-chou. Since the territory along the Etsin-gol north of Mao-mei was controlled by local Mongol headmen, Stein obtained permission and a request from the Tao-tai at Su-chou. Sir George Macartney from Kashgar had obtained authority from the Chinese Foreign Office in Peking for this which was sent to their Tao-t'ai, Chou Wu-hsueh, along with a considerable quantity of silver drawn on Stein's account at Kashgar. He had also to collect provisions for two months of work far in the desert along with camel and donkey transport. He stayed in Su-chou for 6 days accomplishing all this. While he was doing this Lal Singh accomplished more survey work toward the Nan-shan closely west of Su-chou.

He notes that the Etsin-gol contains the combined water flow of the Su-chou and Kan-chou rivers that unite at Mao-mei and then flows north into the desert on the Mongolian border. Mao-mei is the last significant oasis but the river divided into several channels and enables enough vegetation in various places along its course for Mongol nomads to establish grazing grounds. He had hired "Malum', his Mongol interpreter from Kara-shahr already thinking ahead for the need of his services.

In 1907 he had surveyed sections of the area between Su-chou and the Su-lo Ho. This time he again split the caravan. Lal Singh went east at first to the Kan-chou river and then survey north to where that river breaks through the hills to Mao-mei. Stein went along the Pei-ta-ho river past Chin-t'a oasis in order to search again for the Han wall. They departed Su-chou on 10 May. Stein passed again through the Great Wall and then crossed the hills as above Yeh-mao-wan where there was another line of watch towers. On 12 May north of Chin-t'a they passed through orchards and cultivated fields. At that point Malum obtained information from locals about a 'old wall' in the desert. Therefor Stein let Muhammad Yakub take the baggage on directly to Mao-mei while he rode off to explore for this new site. He soon reached the outer ridges of the Pei-shan hills. Sure enough, he found remains of the Han wall in a mound that rose to 9 feet high and 8 feet width. In this section slabs of stone had been laid as revetments along the earthen rampart. But the necessity to turn west to Mao-mei prevented Stein from extensive exploration along the wall. He returned to do this in September. He did follow the wall far enough east to find tower T xlvi a on a rocky hill 30 yards south of the wall. This one was built of stamped clay and brushwood 16 feet square and still 9 feet high. There was much Han pottery all around. Continuing east for a mile he found tower T xlvi b on another hill - it was but two heaps of stone. Another mile and half along the mound that was the wall on another rocky ridge 60 feet high they found tower T xlvi c composed of stone walls. Rubbish there reveled more Chinese documents and a bronze arrow head. Tower T xlvi d was found on another ridge a mile further on. This one was a decayed mound 18 by 7 feet and only 4 feet high. The remaining bricks were 17 x 8 x 4 inches. Beyond these ridges the wall mound only 4 to 8 feet high crossed an open gravel Sai to the south-east. Riding another 3.5 miles Stein found traces of a watch post Txlvi f with much Han pottery. Post Txlvi g was a mound another mile east. But it was adjoined by an enclosure 57 feet by 79 feet., Those walls also were only mounds of layers of gravel and brushwood. Further on was tower Txl h. This was built of bricks 13 x 7.5 x 4 inches with reeds between the courses. It had collapsed but had measured 16 feet square. There also were quarters with brick walls 24 by 16 feet. 14 Chinese records and other items were recovered. One record listed men on fatigue detail, and another specified what to do if bandits were encountered. One was dated 69 AD. Continuing east Stein found three more towers at mile intervals. T xlvi i was the same as Txlvi h, but had been repaired to a height of 12 feet. The next tower, Txlvi k, was near the road between Chin-t'a and Mao-mei and appeared modern. Stein saw that the Han wall trace continued east but had to quit in order to reach Mao-mei by nightfall. However he at least caught sight of another more modern tower T xlvi l further east. Stein followed the cart track then for 12 miles and crossed the Kan-chou river to reach the walls of Mao-mei.


Section II - Past the Mao-mei Oasis and its Outposts

With the heat increasing, Stein had to move rapidly down the Etsin-gol. With the assistance of the Hsien-kuan of Mao-mei, Mr. Chou Hua-nan, Stein managed in a day on 14 May to obtain camels and men. Stein notes his expectation that Mao-mei would prove to have been a significant oasis supporting a section of the Han lines. He presumed therefor that the wall would have crossed the Etsin-gol north of the oasis. He remarks here again that the valley of the Etsin-gol must have always been the major invasion route from Mongolia south into Kan-su for the centuries prior to Ghengis Khan's invasion against the Tangut's in 1225 AD . Long before the Mongols, the Yueh-chih, Hsiung-nu (Huns) and Uighur Turks and others had passed that way. Thus, he reasoned, the oasis must have been involved in defense of Kan-su since at least 121 - 115 BC. Malum extracted from locals information about an ancient fort town was located toward the lower edge of the oasis. On 15 May Stein rode toward Suang-ch'eng-tzu across the cultivated area. At that village he camped. A mile north he found the ruined town. The walls of solid stamped clay were 16 feet thick and enclosed an area 300 yards wide on north and south faces and 400 on east and west. There were breaches on the east and south walls from wind erosion. The walls were 25 feet high. The enclosure was empty but revealed many Han relics and pottery but none from later eras. Another quarter mile north he found another, smaller fort 96 feet square inside with 21 feet thick walls to 30 feet in height. The 10 foot wide gate was protected by another massive wall 17 feet thick . This was extended around another enclosure by a lesser wall 10 feet thick and 12 feet high to the parapet. This outer wall had bricks set vertically, showing its later construction period. Stein decided that these forts had been garrisoned by troops to protect the Han wall.

On 16 May he returned and crossed the river to the west - left -bank. The river was over a mile wide indicating its volume during annual floods but held only a few pools in May. He could not find traces of the wall near the river, but eventually found a tower T xlviii a on a spur 80 feet above the terrain and there could detect the line of the wall. It was only a low mound on a bearing of N. 40 degrees E. but turned at the tower to N. 58 degrees E. The tower was broken to a height of only 9 feet but was 24 feet square at the base. The bricks were 14 x 8 x 5 inches. The next tower on a steep ridge, Txlviii b, was 4 miles away. ( fig 225). It was a solid tower of stamped clay 20 feet square at the base and tapering to 24 feet high. There the wall line changed direction to N. 83 degrees E. toward the left bank of a river. The wall had crossed the river at that point but Stein could not spare time then to look for it on the east - right - bank. He accomplished that task later.

Stein saw that either in Han era or later the governments had expanded the defenses at the Etsin-gol and made them more powerful than the simple Han wall. about 4 miles further from T xlviii b he found a massive fort at T xlviii c. It was similar to the "Jade Gate' at Txiv. It was 32 feet square inside walls of stamped clay that were 20 feet thick and over 30 feet high. The relics found were from ancient and medieval eras. A mile north of Ta-wan there was a large walled enclosure about 220 yards square, T xlviii e (fig 228), close to the left bank of the river. The walls were of stamped clay 18 feet thick and 18 feet high with large square bastions in the corners. It there were several ruined buildings inside including a temple. A mile southeast of this ruin on the river right bank was T xlviii d called by the Mongols Taralinginduruljin. This fort measured 250 by 185 feet with stamped clay walls 12 feet thick and 25 feet high in places. It had one large square bastion on the southwest corner and a smaller one part way on the western wall. The gate in the eastern wall was protected by two massive flanking towers and an outer enclosure. Then there was a much larger enclosure 700 by 500 feet long to the east and north (see diagram. Those walls were only 5-6 feet thick. They had towers in the corner and along the length. Inside the inner fort were two small buildings. There was much pottery, but difficult to date exactly. Stein guessed the fort might date originally to pre-T'ang and then post Tibetan eras around 750 AD. From there Stein rode back cross the Etsin-gol to a Mongol encampment.

Two miles further on they found another watch tower , T xlviii f, on a low ridge commanding a far view of the river plain. I was the same as the others, 20 feet square and tapering to 22 feet high. The bricks were 14 x 8 x 5 inches. .The forts back at Ta-wan were visible from this tower. It must have been a forward look out post. Stein noted that on the opposite side of the river he could see another fort called Ulan-duruljin. He continued north across a bare gravel plain.


Section III - List of Antiques from Ruins of Han Limes

This section is 12 pages of detailed descriptions of the articles found at each of the towers and other ruins described in this chapter. Many of them are illustrated in volume III of Innermostasia.


Chapter XIII - The Etsin-gol Delta and the Ruins of Khara-khoto

Section I - The Lower Etsin-gol and its Terminal Basin

In this section Stein describes the geography, topography and vegetation along his route from Mao-mei to Khara-khoto. He also includes some history and discusses the presence of Mongol encampments that he visited. He showed this on maps 44 and 45. He mentions also that he was preceded there by several Russian explorers, including Colonel Kozlov, who removed a very large quantity of Buddhist art and artifacts to St. Petersburg.

For two days Stein rode north along the left and then the right banks of the river. There were patches of vegetation. At one he found an isolated tower (fig 232). It was brick - 14 x 8 x 5 inches and 27 feet square at the base with later, additional masonry of vertically set bricks 16 x 6 x 3 inches. They passed another tower near this one. Another one was of similar size of bricks 14 x 8 x 5 inches, 16 feet square at base and 20 feet high. These were over 17 miles north of the towers Txlviii f and Ulan-duruljin. Stein did not number these towers. They passed another tower further north near Bayin-bogdo hill. They continued riding on 19 and 20 May through the jungle on the river right bank. They passed three more unnumbered towers and reached another fort called Bahan-durwuljin near the river bank. This was an enclosure 45 feet square inside walls 11 feet thick of bricks 18 x 9 x 7 inches. Crossing the river again they found Mongol camps. They passed another, smaller, fort and another watch tower of similar bricks. On May 21 to 23 they covered 40 miles through more desolate terrain along the river. As always Stein describes the terrain, topography and vegetation in detail.

On 24 and 25 May Stein stopped at the camping grounds of the local Torgut Mongol "Beili" at Dashoba whose assistance was critical for Stein to hire men and camels to work at Khara-khoto. The Mongol nomads, not used to any serious work were reluctant even with the generous wages Stein offered. Stein had the foresight to bring strong influence from the Tao-t'ai at Su-chou, which helped. Stein described and photographed the camp and the chief. The Mongols described the serious situation that already had resulted from greatly reduced summer floods. Lal Singh's survey of the river delta and its two small terminal lakes showed the significant reduction in water levels. All this shows on his maps 44 and 45. Stein compares the situation with that which had occurred at Lou-lan centuries before.


Section II - Khara-khoto and its Remains

On 26 May Stein had recruited a dozen local Mongols as laborers along with extra camels. They all started for Khara-khoto. About 2.5 miles from the river they found the first fort. It had walls 12 feet thick and 24 feet high enclosing an area of 49 feet square. The solid bricks were 14 x 8 x 6 inches laid with reeds between every sixth course. They found no remains. They continued south east across the gravel on which was the usual potsherds including fine glazed ware from Sung era. They next found the fort called Aduna-kora. (plan 16). It was built of two walled enclosures one inside the other. Both were built of stamped clay with the inner walls 20 feet thick and the outer walls 12 feet thick. In both the north and west walls were very badly eroded due to wind and rain. (fig 234). The inner fort was about 83 yards square and the outer walls enclosed an area 220 yards east to west by 180 yards north-south. The inner gate was in the center of its southern wall. The outer gate was on its east side and protected by a bastion and court some 40 feet square. Stein found no structural remains. Sung era potsherds were found along with 5 Chinese copper coins, 4 from T'ang era and one from 990-1004 AD. Since the ruin of Khara-khoto was another 10 miles east, Stein concluded that this fort nearer the river was used as a convenient way-station for caravans proceeding along the river that didn't want to stop at Khara-khoto. Beyond the for the ground became more sandy. They sighted the high walls of the city while still 8 miles or so from it. Stein remarks that this sight was the most impressive that he had ever seen in the desert. Besides the walls there was a very large stupa on a big bastion. (fig 240). They soon saw also a Muhammadan tomb near the southwest corner (fig 251). Stein used this structure for storage and pitched his tent beside it. The men used the inside of a bastion guarding the western town gate for shelter. There was a huge sand drift against the west wall (fig 243).

Stein describes how impressive the huge fortress city was in the middle of total desolation. He noted the dry bed of a river than skirted the walls. As usual, Stein promptly sent Afraz-gul off to search the desert to the northeast. He had obtained information from a local Mongol that there was another ruins in that direction. He sent the remaining camels and ponies back to graze at Dzusulun-tsakha. The camels then would be employed in relays bringing water. Two days later he sent Lal Singh out again to survey up the dried-up branch of the river and the across the Morun-gol. On 27 May Stein began excavation within and adjacent to the walls. He quickly found the Mongol nomads were not that interested in digging. This effort required 8 days. Plus Afraz-gul reported that indeed he had found another ruin.

Stein records that the most striking aspect of Khara-khoto was the immense walls. (And even now photos available on the Internet show that this is so.) (plan 18). The area measured 460 yards on the north side and 381 yards on the west. He assessed it at twice the size of Lou-lan but less than a half of So-yang-ch'eng near Ch'iao-tzu. The walls were constructed of stamped clay reinforces by a wooden frame of big rafters. They were 38 feet thick at base with an inward slope to a width of 12 feet at a height of 30 feet from the ground level. The wall was wider at the north western corner where the large stupa was located. In places a parapet one foot thick with loopholes rose for 5-6 feet. There were ramps leading up to the top of the walls near the gates and at the north western and south eastern corners. There were gates 18 feet wide in the western and eastern walls protected by rectangular outworks built as massively as he main walls. (fig 250). In addition the walls were defended by large circular bastions at the four corners and by rectangular bastions along the sides, - 4 each on the western and eastern sides and 6 and 5 respectively on the north and south sides. The largest bastions were 47 feet wide. The walls were also opened at two points by passages of a later date. Stein did not establish the purpose for these late breaches, but guessed they might have been the work of 'treasure seekers'. The incessant wind had piled up sand against the outside of the western and northern walls. Near a bastion the sand pile reached the height of the wall where they destroyed the parapet and cut into the wall itself. There was some similar result of wind driven sand on the inside of the eastern and southern walls. Inside, Stein had difficulty tracing the foundations of former buildings. He found that they had been built of stamped clay and wood but not thick. He found relatively few artifacts considering the size of the ruin. But among them were 230 Chinese and 57 Tibetan (Hsi-hsia and Tungut) documents. There also were Uighur and Turkish documents.

Later analysis by Mr. Maspero found dates within the period of Yuan - Mongol- dynasty between AD 1290 and 1366. (Chingis Khan conquered the Tangut kingdom in 1227 and the Mongol dynasty fell to the Ming dynasty in 1368.) Of 17 Chinese coins found in or around the city 13 show dates between 1008 and 1161 and 3 are from the T'ang era. The Sung dynasty and absence of Hsi-hsia coins indicated to Stein that the majority of trade at the time involved the Sung.
Among other small items there were many of glazed pottery dated by experts to Sung, Yuan and even Ming eras.
Stein considered that the western side of the town was occupied mostly by shrines. Near the northern wall he found a cella 32 by 50 feet with walls 1.5 feet thick built of sun-dried bricks 12 x 5 x 2 inches set on edge, in which there was considerable debris. His team cleared a pile of refuse 4 feet deep. Inside he recognized the base for a large statue and several alcoves. He found a coin there dated 1068-78 AD. There were many pieces of gilt stucco that originally comprised the statue. He describes many pieces of stucco depicting parts of human anatomy and costume. There were also fragments of silk banners and faience including pieces of decoration from the former roof.

Stein found another shrine on a built up platform of stamped clay 82 by 63 feet located on the main east west street. Stairs led up from the east. The shrine chapel measured 12 by 17 feet. Inside he recovered various items in Chinese and Tibetan. Some 70 yards to the south of K K i ii, was a row of three small stupas and two shrines. In the south eastern corner Stein found remains of several buildings. One of these revealed some Muhammadan documents. Dr. Laufer assessed one fragment of paper as the 'oldest paper money now in existence'.

Stein next described the group of 4 stupas on the top of the walls in the north west corner. (plan 19, fig 241, 248). The largest one is on a platform 18 feet square and reaches a height of 30 feet but originally was much higher. These stupas were built of bricks set on edge. Other stupas remain only in total ruin. He found also models of stupas used as votive offerings.


Section III - Remains outside Khara-khoto

Stein describes the results of his survey outside the city walls starting with a group of stupas near the north-west corner. All had been broken into by 'treasure seekers'. The tallest rose to 20 feet height. (fig 241) These also had many small votive stupa models plus clay tablets showing Buddha seated on a lotus. Stein notes an interesting fact, that the tablets here and relievos and small statues were mass produced from moulds. Clearing the debris resulted in finds of packets of Hsi-hsia texts, totaling over 100 pages plus about 50 Tibetan leaves, and many fragments. (plate 18). Another mound, only 10 feet high, some 100 yards from the north east corner contained more votive stupas and numerous leaves in Hsi-hsia or Chinese.

He considered another structure even more interesting - a ruin marked K K ii from which Colonel Kozlov extracted his huge collection in 1908. (Now being put on line in St. Petersburg). Its location was several miles west of the city walls (fig 257, 258). There was a brick platform 28 feet square and 7 feet high made of bricks 12 x 5 x 3 inches. Stein remarked at the poor condition previous explorers had left the scene insuring that many valuable items would be damaged or destroyed. He hoped that this unnamed explorer had at least made photo of the structures and drawings prior to their destruction. The dome that had covered and proprotectedcted the contents had been destroyed. Shapir, a Mongol who had also accompanied Col. Kozlov, explained to Stein what the site had looked like and what its contents had been prior to the Russian's exploitation. Stein estimated that the height of the missing dome would have sufficed to house large statues, and indeed found a huge stucco head in the debris. Shapir stated that the formerly intact shrine had no entrance. Despite the large quantity of materials taken by Col. Kozlov, Stein found much more remaining. Stein comments that photos accompanying Kozlov's article do show the extent of the structure before it was destroyed. It was built on a three story base with projecting cornices and an circular drum and above that a cylindrical dome. Stein further comments that the material is receiving public discussion by Russian scholars. (Now widely published by the IDP.)

Stein draws attention first to the numerous tests in Hsi-hsia he recovered - over 1100 hundred of which 300 printed in Hsi-hsia and 59 in Chinese. This sharply contrasts with the preponderance of Chinese texts throughout the town, leading Stein to guess that Chinese was the language of daily life and commerce while Tibetan was reserved for religious texts. He remarks further than most of the texts, both written and printed, and in Chinese or Hsi-hsia were oblong books more common in use during Sung times. There were fewer roll type texts typical of T'ang era. He deplored having found many documents clearly cut in two by hoe or pickax. But there were more small fragments apparently collected as a religious custom.

There were also many artistic relics. Stein's laconic (ironic?) assessment deserves quotation. "The remains of artistic or technical interest recovered from the wreckage were, as the Descriptive List shows, numerous enough. But after the account given above of the conditions in which they were found, it cannot cause surprise that almost all have badly suffered, whether at the time when the shrine was cleared - and demolished - or subsequently through exposure. Nevertheless a brief review of them will be useful if only to show how much it is to be hoped that the large and valuable haul of antiques which Colonel Kozlov's expedition carried away from this ruin may yet obtain that adequate study and publication which it deserves."

He continues to describe the mass of architectural remains - sculptural fragments in stucco of images of all sizes from colossal statues to mere figurines that must have originally filled the interior. These included many large parts of bodies from fingers to heads. He found fragments of mail which he ascribed to a statue of a Lokapala and also a demon's face. There were heads of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. There were animal figures as well. There were numerous tempera fragments from wall and ceiling decorations. The remains of silk paintings had suffered badly. He found many block printed designs of Buddhist divinities and other sacred objects. He considered the examples of block illustrations significant for the study of Chinese wood engraving.
There also were many pen and ink drawings. Again he hopes for publication by the Russians. He completes his distressed description of 'waste' left behind by the Russian with comments on silk fabrics.

He lacked the specifically datable materials that he hoped the Russians would produce. But meanwhile presumes the remains dated from the quarter century prior to the Mongol conquest of 1226. At the other extreme, he notes that the Hsi-hsia script was only invented by the Tangut ruler Li Yuan-hao about 1032.

Next he shifts to discuss other ruined structures such as a small brick platform 12 feet square and a low mound south of K.K. that measured 19.5 by 21.5 feet with walls 1.5 feet thick of bricks 12 x 6 x 3 inches. There was a domed building (fig 251 -252, plan 21) about 30 yards to the south west of the south-west corner bastion . Its original height was nearly 23 feet but part of its dome had collapsed. The domed hall measured 18.5 feet square, and there was a vaulted porch. As the walls rise they shift to an octagon and then to a circular drum and high dome. This building is entirely western and clearly a Muhammadan tomb of 'gumbaz'. The design is Saracenic. The interior was empty. Stein notes that Marco Polo wrote that Islam was practiced in the region. Whatever its date, Stein believes it must be the oldest Muhammadan building remaining in western most China.

Another 3/4 mile north east of the north eastern corner there was a small stupa, less "Tibetan' looking than the others. (fig 256). Tis base measured 11 feet square and had a tapering dome 15 feet high. Stein found the usual evidence of 'treasure seekers'. Further east there was another mound that contained a temple. The walls, 19 by 22 feet only 2 feet high at most nevertheless had tempera frescos some of which Stein managed to extract. There was the usual image platform 12 feet 3 inches by 11 feet 6 inches. But only fragments of the former statues remained.


Section IV - The Remains of a Rural Settlement and Marco Polo's 'City of Etzina'

Afraz-gul returned from his successful reconnaissance in two days. He found remains of buildings stretched over a distance of 6 miles. Coins indicated it dated to the same era. So in 1 June Stein ventured to the location while noticing canals along the way. He found many large and small dwellings amid extensive evidence of ancient cultivation. He decided it had been a Chinese area. He found 8 Sung era coins and one T'ang coin. Stein visited and described more and more ruins of homes of agricultural people over a wide area. There were many fragments of fine pottery which he describes and illustrates in volume III. Another 17 coins were found throughout the area, 11 of Sung (1017-22 to 1086-94). He again quotes Marco Polo to prove that Khara-khoto is the Etezina that Marco found. He continues with mention that Sir Henry Yule the great publisher of Marco's book, had also looked for Yetzina mentioned in 1226 along the river north of Kan-chou. Stein goes to rather great lengths over several pages to shoot down any objections to this identification of Khara-khoto.

Stein then turns to the issue of when Khara-khoto was abandoned and why. Several pages of discussion follow the basic conclusion reached once again is lack of water due to shifting of the river bed. In addition the volume of water itself has been reduced since medieval times.

With rapidly increasing heat beating on everyone, Stein was glad to finish at Khara-khoto on 5 June. Lal Singh returned from his survey of the Etsin gol north. Stein sent Muhammad Yaqub with the camels north-east to graze over the summer in a higher region, the Kungurche hills. He also hoped Muhammad Yaqub could survey to the north but Mongol border guards prevented that. Stein moved the camp back to Tsondul on the Ikhe-gol where the Mongols had their main grazing area and from which he had obtained their reluctant assistance. Hasan Akhun had been in charge of the camels as usual. This clever fellow discovered another walled enclosure 200 yards square in the desert as he was bringing the camels south to Mao-mei. Muhammad Yaqub duly entered its plan on his plane table. Hasan also brought Stein about 200 Tibetan documents and 20 leaves of Mongolian script, plus other remains. .


Section V - List of Antiques from Khara-khoto and Neighboring Sites

This section is 40 pages of detailed descriptions of the relics Stein brought back from in and around Khara-khoto.


Chapter XIV - To Kan-chou and the Central Nan-shan

Section I - A Desert Route towards Kan-chou

On 8 June Stein departed Dzusulun-tsakha southward toward Kan-chou with the objective of getting into the high Nan-shan again for summer work. The Torgut Mongols were not interested in the extra work of carrying his baggage through the hot weather, especially on the route Stein wanted to use through unexplored desert. Of course he didn't want to use the route along the Etsin-gol he had followed when moving north, but to explore the desert east of the river to look for Han wall sections there. The Mongols finally agreed for high wages to carry his team as far south as Kao-t'ai but only at night thus defeating his surveying opportunities. From there they agreed since the area traversed would be higher and hopefully cooler to move during day light, but only early in morning and late afternoon. Stein was always facing his need to obtain local workers for whatever projects he had in mind. So from 8 to 15 June they went by night marches with their intendant straying of animals, loss of loads and such. And even the halts during the day were subject to intense heat and powerful sand storms. They passed the ruined forts at Arun-takhai and Tara-lingin examined during the previous march north. He noted tower T xlviii b where the Han wall hits the left bank of the river. He found a series of 5 ruined watch towers in a line northeast from the right bank near the fort Ulan-duruljin on a rising ridge He visited the southern most of these, Tower T xlviii g, built of bricks 14 x 8 x 6 inches with layers of reeds between each third course. He lacked more time to search for a connection of the wall toward Mao-mei nor further toward the north-east as the Mongols who owned the camels and ponies would not hear of it.

After another 5 nights and over 100 miles they reached Kao-t'ai by the Kan-chou river. Stein duly marked the route on his maps 42, 454 and 46. They stopped to rest for 2 days in Kao-t'ai where Stein as usual pitched his tent by a large temple outside the city gate. From there he had to hire a new transport team using carts. Stein went directly along the main road to Kan-chou while Lal Singh took a longer survey route through the foothills along the right bank of the Kan-chou river. Lal Singh found a ruined town at Lo-t'o-ch'eng with walls of stamped clay 10 feet thick and of length over a mile east to west and 1,430 yards from north to south. (Once a sizable town). The nearly empty interior was divided by a cross wall. There were bastions along the walls and at the corners. The gates in the eastern and northern walls were protected by outworks. He found several coins from 1644-63 and 1851-62.

Stein marched on June 23rd and 24th from Kao-t'ai to Kan-chou over ground he described in Serindia. He stayed at the same quarters he had used in 1907, a temple outside the south-western corner of the city walls. (Unfortunately we don't have illustrations of the walls of Kan-chou or Su-chou) He remained in the town for 10 days making arrangements for his survey again into the Nan-shan. As usual he accomplished a lot of correspondence with India and Europe and remarkably was busy checking proofs of Serindia as well, into which he inserted his recent observations. He hoped to extend the survey accomplished in 1907 described in Serindia and shown on the maps published then. He faced the same difficulty as before, namely the strong reluctance of the Chinese to venture into those forbidding mountains full of all sorts of physical and human dangers. While the peasants were fearful of their own danger, the officials were fearful of their responsibilities if something should go wrong. Luckily for Stein one of his old friends from former expeditions in 1907 showed up in the person of General Ch'ai Hung-shan the new military governor, T'i-t'ai, of Kan-chou. Obviously that set matters straight for Stein. Stein also enjoyed visiting with the Belgian missionaries and learned much from Father Van Eecke.


Section II - To Nan-kou-ch'eng and the Eastern Headwaters of the Kan-chou River

Stein mentions his desire to visit the walled village, Nan-kou-ch'eng and the cave shrines at Ma-ti'ssu due to information obtained from Professor L. de Loczy. This town was on his proposed route into the Richthofen range. He sent Lal Singh ahead by a different route to survey the area. On the way Stein noted that the extensive cultivation all around Kan-chou was dependent on irrigation from the river rather than any precipitation. Yet further south and at a higher elevation he observed that the cultivation had no irrigation but was enabled by rain and snow. He was acutely aware of the change in total climatic conditions. The village was located in front of the steep rise of the snow-covered Richthofen range, which provided a lovely backdrop. He compared the scene to the Italian Alps. In the picturesque village Stein visited the noted Lung-chiao-miao temple that contained a huge clay statue of a seated Buddha and standing Bodhisattva and 8 bronze Arhats. From the village Stein went to Ma-ti'ssu monastery through bucolic scenery that he describes with special vigor and pleasure. There he met with dozens of red-robed Lamas. He delighted in viewing the elaborate polychromatic decoration of the Tibetan Buddhist style. There were also several stupas and extensive cave shrines and large Chinese style temples to be admired. He climbed to visit the three stories of caves and described them in detail. He was given dated records that established the foundation in 1427 and 1565.

Lal Singh arrived on 8 July having determined the location where the Kan-chou river exited the mountains. On 9 July they moved on south-eastwards to Hung-shui where Stein again found quarters in a temple garden. The village had its usual Chinese military garrison whose commander appeared eager to obey the order from General Ch'ai Hung-shan but the owners of the required pones were not so accommodating. Stein spent three days arguing while the military commander did his part by threatening, before 17 ponies with their owners were obtained at a price double the official rate. At that Stein sent Li-Ssu-yeh (who anyway was useless) and Naik Shamsuddin (whose excellent engineering skills would not be needed) back with other spare workers to Kan-chou. (It turned out that with Stein's serious accident Shamsuddin would have been of very much assistance).
So on 13 July Stein, Lal Singh and Afraz-gul set out into the high mountains. They passed another garrison at Yung-k'ou soon reaching 8,800 feet elevation. The next day they crossed the water shed of the eastern tributary of the Kan-chou. Above Pien-tung-k'ou they passed another military outpost. Evidently there was sufficient reason to consider a danger from Tangut raids. They soon passed Tangut camps with their large herds of yaks and flocks of sheep. They crossed the O'po'ling'tzu pass at 12,680 feet. Stein was back in his favorite element - snow covered mountains. He could see far across the plateau of the O'po'ho tributary of the Kan-chou. Over the next range would be the Ta-t'ung-ho, a tributary of the Huang-ho and thus drainage to the Pacific Ocean. There was yet another fort at O-po, elevation 11,000 feet. At that point Stein faced a passive mutiny of the Chinese pony-men (similar to those he experienced in the Kun-lun). Stein managed to get the fort's commander to prevail on the 'mutineers', after an additional compensation in silver. The officer assigned a NCO to accompany Stein and prevent further difficulties. The section ends with description of unusual gifts Stein received from the monks at Ma-ti-ssu.


Section III - Return from the Nan-shan to Mao-mei

In this short section Stein describes his rapid march out of the mountains and then north and west from Kan-chou back to Mao-mei. He started back on 16 July. After riding only 16 miles his Badakhshi stallion reared and plunged and then fell backwards right on top of him. The damage to his left thigh was serious, muscles were torn, but at least no bone was broken. He was suffering greatly from the severe injury to his leg. He gamely tried to walk with support from his surveyors but finally had to quit. He had to be carried on to the camp by the men in a camp chair. He had to remain immobile in camp for two weeks but Lal Singh managed to complete quite a bit of the survey through the mountains until the Chinese workers simply refused to go further. Lal Singh continued surveying for weeks into August. But Stein finally had to be carried down on a pony litter to Kan-chou. He stayed in Kan-chou for 10 more days under care of Belgian missionaries, Fathers Van Eecke and De Smidt. It was in Kan-chou that he learned about the outbreak of World War One. Lal Singh reported in and promptly returned to the Nan-shan to survey westward to complete their coverage of the Kan-chou drainage.

On 22 August Stein departed Kan-chou to Mao-mei traveling along the right bank of the Kan-chou river. He insisted on riding, which did no good for his damaged leg. He passed the decayed part of the Ming Great Wall. That section of the wall continues to the famous fortress at Chia-yu-kuan. Stein noted that the decay seen in the medieval Ming wall was a marked contrast to the relative preservation of the much older Han wall that was built in far worse terrain and climatic conditions. Passing Cheng-i he noted many towers and defensive positions on hills and ridges. At Mao-mei he was reunited with both Lal Singh and Muhammad Yaqub..


Chapter XV - Across the Pei-shan to Barkul

Section I - Through the Desert Ranges of the Pei-shan

In this section Stein describes his bold trek across the dry Pei-shan hills. The descriptions are vivid, both in detail about the flora and terrain and about the interaction of the participants. The reader always can get a look into Stein himself and his thoughts and methods by reading his narratives carefully. There were a few dramatic moments but nothing really significant by way of discoveries of ancient civilizations in this bleak region.

Always looking for fresh regions to explore and potential ancient caravan routes to uncover, Stein decided to avoid the previous route from An-hsi to Hami. Instead he would move north west from Mao-mei across the desolate desert like Pei-shan on a direction more or less parallel with the An-shi - Hami route but significantly further north east of it. His route would strike for the eastern end of the Karlik-tagh, itself an eastern extension of the T'ien-shan. From there he would cross and move westward on the northern rather than southern slope of the mountain chain to visit Barkul and Guchen before recrossing the mountains back south to Turfan. During his earlier stops at Mao-mei Stein undertook preliminary oral reconnaissance by quizzing all the locals he could. The response was meager. His effort to hire Mongol guides failed. Instead he managed to hire two Chinese who claimed to have traveled along the caravan routes and were willing to return north. (See below for the results.) There would be no resources along the route so Stein made special care about food and water. To reduce the party and also spare the weak Chinese 'interpreter' Li Ssu-yeh, Stein sent him with Naik Shamsuddin and two Turki followers back to Su-chou and from there to An-hsi to join Ibrahim Beg and from there to take all the heavy baggage by the main road from there to Turfan for a rendezvous in October. Always trying to expand the survey, Stein proposed that when possible he with Muhammad Yaqub and Afraz-gul would go along one route while Lal-Singh took another more or less parallel.

They set out on 2 September but the flooded river required half a day to cross. The next day they crossed the line previously found of the Han wall west of Mao-mei. They found two additional towers, Txlv a and T xlv b. made of stamped clay and layers of tamarisk. The following day they found towers T xlv c , d, and e on the same line. Stein was suffering from his damaged leg while confined to a liter on a camel. At the last village he persuaded a gracious home owner to part with some wood to construct a liter that could be carried on a pony. This sufficed to carry him for the next two months across desert and mountains. On 5 September they finally got away from civilization into the Pei-shan desert hills. Immediately they found yet two more towers, T xlv f and g. Soon after, the 'guide' lost his way for the first time. From then on Stein relied more on his own plane table. On September 6 they continued to ascend a valley and passed two more wells. They reached the crest at 5,700 feet where they lost any remains of a former track. But soon they did see the line generated by Lal Singh's cyclometer and were able to follow it to an old cart track. Eventually they found Lal Singh, intrepid as always and perfectly at home with the discomforts of desert and mountain, in his camp near old coal mines.

Next they followed the cart track over 25 miles to a well at Nan-ch'uan. On September 9 they crossed another ridge at 5,300 feet. They rode on during 10 and 11 September before stopping at another spring, Lo-t'o-ch'uan, on 12 September. On the 13th they rode northwest. By that time the 'guides' were thoroughly lost. They continued on during 14 September and crossed another water shed at 7,000 feet. in the Ma-tsun-shan range. On 15 September at Tsagan-gulu they met a group of 6 Mongol families with their sheep and cattle enroute to their winter grazing area. These nomads provided much information on the topography of the region, clearing up the lack of information from the Chinese 'guides'. While Stein's party remained over night a large camel caravan crossed their past taking rice and flour from An-hsi north east into Mongolia at Uliassutai. So Stein knew he was at least near routes still in use. Stein obtained milk and sheep from the Mongols and then continued on September 16th. They turned due west in an open valley. They had to halt for the night and await the camels. Next morning the 'guides' found the oasis at Ming-shui only a mile away. They were in a valley but at 6,660 feet elevation. By the well they found a mud enclosure and on a low hill the remains of a Chinese shrine. They rested a day. in-shui was on the route between Su-chou via Shih-erh-tun to Hami. Therefore Stein detached Muhammad Yaqub with one of the Chinese 'guides' to survey that route past Hami to Tash-bulak and Khotun-tam. From Hami he then was to continue to Shona-nor and on to the Turfan where he would meet Stein's party. Stein felt that Muhammad would be safe following a well marked caravan route.


Section II - Across the Easternmost T'ien-shan
Stein started from Ming-shui on 20 September across the eastern end of the T'ien-shan beyond the Karlik-tagh toward Bai. Continuing on 21 September over the northern edge of the Pei-shan for 25 miles they found a spring in a depression 2 miles long. On 22 September they continued north westward to reach the foothills of the T'ien-shan. Moving up through narrow valleys they found fresh water springs. But at this point the hired 'guide' admitted he had lost the way and turned frantic from the dishonor. Searching all around for signs of a caravan route they spent much of a day fruitlessly going in circles. Fortunately they at least were at a fine spring from which to replenish the water supply. The 'guide' ran off during the night, but was found the next day. On 25 September Stein continued northwest, crossing the ridge at 6,000 feet. The way down was not so easy, full of boulders between rock walls. Stein was concerned that the narrow gorge might not have an exit further down through which the camels could pass. And Stein was still being carried in a liter. But on 26 September Ismail, one of the Yarkandi team, climbed to the top of the side ridge and reported he could see their objective in the distance. On exiting the gorge indeed the high peaks of the Karlik-tagh were visible in the distance, covered with snow. After a few more miles riding they succeeded in reaching Bai, a hamlet of only about 50 families. This phase of the trek had taken 4 weeks across a desert. The oasis was irrigated solely by water exiting from springs fed from higher up in the mountains. Afraz-gul made a sketch of a small fort at Bai meant to protect the area from intruders from Mongolia to the north east. The fort measured about 320 feet on each face and had gates in the middle of the north and south walls. There were rectangular bastions at each corner, The walls were of stamped clay and 8 feet thick. Stein concluded from this excursion that the more northern route just explored could never have supported significant military operations. He decided that the well worn route between An-hsi and Hami was the route - and it still is today as a road map of Chinese Turkestan will show.


Section III - Past the Karlik-tagh and Barkul

On 28 September Stein left Bai moving west along the northern slopes of the T'ien-shan to Pei-ting near Guchen. From there he crossed through snow to the Turfan depression. His plan, again, was to accomplish archeological work in the desert during the winter. West of the pass that connects Barkul and Hami Stein followed the high road connecting Hami with the souther part of Dzungaria. From Bai they went to Aturuk north of the Karlik-tagh. North of the range the terrain was much more favored by water from streams off the glaciers on top of the Karlik-tagh. The result was extensive grazing of sheep and ponies. They stopped at the village of a local headman. They then turned west and the following night again stopped with a local Turki chieftain. These nomads were in process of moving their flocks down and north to lower elevations for the winter. On 30 September they crossed the watershed between lakes Tur-kol and Barkul. Stein noted that the range was heavily forested between elevations of about 7,500 and 9,000 feet in contrast to the southern side on which there are no trees or vegetation, just desert. They entered the valley of lake Barkul, which extends 100 miles east to west, and 30 miles wide north-south.

On 2 October Stein noted a distinct ethnic change in the local population as he rode from Shor-bulak to Narin-kur. He had passed through the territory of nomad Turkis with their felt tents, who were subjects of the Wang of Hami. They entered a region cultivated by Chinese settlers, but no flocks of sheep or ponies, all the way to Barkul. Stein notes that both valleys, Tur-kol and Barkul are formed because on its eastern extension the T'ien-shan splits from a single massive range into two with the southern one rising in places to 14,000 feet and the northern ridge reaching 11,000 feet in places. Barkul valley itself is at or above 5,000 feet and Tur-kol is over 6,000 feet. Stein notes the attractiveness of these well watered and lush basins to nomads over the centuries from which they could and did mount raids and campaigns across the mountains into the Tarim and eastward into Kan-su. For this reason occupation of Hami and conduct of trade along the southern side of the T'ien-shan required also control of the Barkul valley.


Section IV - Historical Relations between Barkul and Hami

Stein concludes volume I with another digression into history. He again refers to the Former Han Archives for information about the first Chinese expeditions into Central Asia. In this case he notes that these archives do not mention a connection between these two towns on either side of the low mountain range. Chinese expansion during two centuries after Han Wu-ti in 121 BC required and resulted in their pushing the Hsiun-nu (Huns) out of the Tarim basin and north across the T'ien-shan mountains. But the Huns remained in power on that steppe. From there they continued to mount raids southward. The Chinese could not secure Hami. This threat was the reason the Han wall north of Tun-huang was built. The Chinese lost control of the routes due to strong Hun attacks and the weakness of the last of the Former Han dynasty. But in 73 AD the new Later Han Emperor Ming again asserted power and sent general Pan Ch'ao back into the Tarim basin. This time the Chinese were able to stage operations from Hami. At this time then there are more references in the Later Han archives to Barkul. The record of Chinese discussion and decisions in 72 AD include recommendations to defeat the Hun tribes around Barkul. The offensive in 73 followed this advice. Three Chinese armies advanced on different routes into the steppe across the Pei-shan and north of the Karlik-tagh. A garrison was then established at Hami. In 74 AD another Chinese army marched from Tun-huang attacked to Lake Barkul and then on west into Turfan and Guchen. If the Huns could be pushed back and prevented from advancing through the area east of the T'ien-shan then the small oasis societies throughout the Tarim (that is around the Taklamakan) could be controlled. Chinese control over their critical line of communications through Hami continued to be threatened. In 77 AD the Chinese had to withdraw from Hami which fell to the Huns again. It was regained in 90 AD when the Huns were defeated but was lost again in 107 AD. A Chinese campaign to retake Hami in 119 was soundly defeated leaving the entire route east to Kan-su open. The records contain an address from 123 AD by Chang Tang, Governor of Tun-huang to the Emperor urging another offensive. In 123 another army was sent to establish a military colony at Luchun in the Turfan basin. From there the Chinese again defeated the Hu-yen king in 126 AD. But by 131 AD they again were struggling to maintain a garrison at Hami. A Hun campaign in 135 again defeated a Chinese force. The Chinese were then victorious in 137. The Huns came right back and won in 151 AD. From then on internal disintegration of the Later Han dynastic power inside China led to their losses or even much effort against the Huns around the T'ien-shan.

Stein continues with comparisons between the topographic descriptions in the Later Han records and his own observations of the terrain in and north and south of the eastern part of the T'ien-shan.

Stein next discusses Chinese efforts in the area during Sui and especially T'ang dynasties. By that time the Huns had long gone but there were powerful nomads, Turki tribes and Uighurs. In 630 AD the Chinese defeated the Northern Turks, In 640 the Chinese mounted an offensive from Hami and conquered Turfan. They won a final victory in 658-9. Chinese control lasted several centuries until the era of Tibetan expansion and then Uighur return. The Chinese did not regain Hami until the 17th century. Then lost it during the Tungun rebellion and finally regained the whole Tarim basin after 1874.


Stein continues his narration and analysis in Volume II which describes his work in Guchen and then south across the T'ien-shan, months of work in Turfan basin, cemeteries uncovered at Astana, further exploration back east across the Kuruk-tagh and along the Konche-darya back to Lop, then the journeyed from Korla to Kucha and on to Kashgar. From there Stein sent Lal Singh with the large train of camels directly to India. Stein then entered the Russian Pamirs and spent weeks exploring southward to the Oxus river Wakan corridor which he could not cross into Afghanistan. Then he went to Samarkand and from there crossed into Iran - Khorasan and Sistan exploring southeast Persia and finally back to India.


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