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Across Coveted Lands by Arnold Henry Savage Landor

Was a most extensive graveyard


These

parallel walls were somewhat puzzling. They were only a few feet apart and protected a road between them which went from north-west to south-east. Each wall was constructed very strongly of two brick walls filled between with beaten earth. The lower portion of the wall was much corroded by the wind and sand, but the upper part where it had not collapsed, was in good preservation. There were rows of holes at the bottom on the east side, where there appeared to have been extensive stables with mangers for horses. The lower portion of the wall was of kiln-baked bricks, and the upper part in horizontal layers of baked bricks every four feet and mud bricks between.

Of the two parallel walls the eastern one was not castellated, but the western or inner had a castellated summit. There was an outer moat or canal.

Only a comparatively small portion of this double wall stood up to its former height--merely a few hundred feet of it--but traces could be seen that it must have extended for a very long distance. It appeared to be tortuous and not in a straight line, its direction being plainly traceable even in the photograph reproduced in the illustration facing page 208. Only one tower of a quadrangular shape could be seen along this wall, and the apertures in the wall were at regular intervals of four feet. The doorway in these walls appeared to have been next to the quadrangular tower, which was very likely constructed

in order to guard the gate.

There were small circular unroofed structures between the fort itself and this double wall, but they appeared more like the upper sections of towers than actual habitations. Though much smaller and lower they bore all the architectural characteristics of the towers of the greater fort, and possessed windows, one above the other, similar to those we had found in the larger towers of the main fort. In the illustration the reader can see for himself. That a considerable portion of this structure is buried is shown by the fact that the upper portion of a window is just visible above the sand in the circular building to the left of the observer. These structures had in the interior some elaborately moulded recesses, and ornamented windows in pointed arches. The circular building had three rooms on the floor still above ground and six small recesses. One window was in most excellent preservation.

Further on, beyond the double wall to the south-east, was a most extensive graveyard, a portion of which had been freed from sand by the natives of the modern village of Zaidan. There were hundreds and hundreds of tombs, some in quite good preservation, as can be seen by the two photographs facing pages 212 and 214.

The photograph facing page 212 shows the eastern portion of the graveyard where some of the tombs were altogether free from sand, and in a splendid state of preservation. They were made of kiln-burnt bricks plastered over with mud, the body, it may be remarked, being enclosed in these rectangular brick cases and entirely above ground. They were mostly single tombs, not compound graves, like some which we shall inspect later on (Mount) Kuh-i-Kwajah. Their measurements were about 7 feet by 4 feet by 31/2 feet, and they were extremely simple, except that the upper face was ornamented by a series of superposed rectangles diminishing in size upwards and each of the thickness of one brick, and the last surmounted generally by a prism.

[Illustration: Interior of Zaidan Fortress.]

[Illustration: Graveyard of Zaidan City.]

The photograph facing page 214 shows the north-western portion of the graveyard, with the entire eastern aspect of the Zaidan fortress. I took this photograph for the special purpose of proving how high the sand has accumulated over many portions of the graveyard, as well as over a great portion of the city. The particular spot where I took the photograph was somewhat protected from the north, hence the low depression, slightly more free from sand than further back where the sand, as can be seen, was able to settle down to a great height. The upper portions of several graves can be noticed mostly buried in sand, and by the ripples on the sand and the casting of the shadows (the photograph was taken in the afternoon when the sun was west) it can be seen plainly that the sand has accumulated from the north.


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